PW World Language department adds free reading libraries to classrooms
At PWHS, shelves of books can be found in World Language classrooms. These libraries were added in support of the department’s implementation of free reading time. Students use that time to read books of their choice, such as in Jason Williams’ Spanish class.
“We pick a book, and we just read,” says junior Kaiden Gonzalez. “I stick with the same book until I finish it. I’ve probably read three or four books this year.”
The books are leveled for Spanish learners, written using patterns that students recognize from class. “I’m getting a good understanding of conjugations, verb tenses, things like that,” says Gonzalez.
“It’s good for understanding grammar structure,” adds sophomore Sophie Linardopoulos. “It helps that we focus on one thing, that we read the books with no distractions.”
Free reading gives students real examples of vocabulary used in context. “The benefit is repetition,” explains Mr. Williams. “Students have to figure out the meaning of sentences they don’t fully understand. The more you see different words and grammar structures, the more it sinks in. You start to think and develop ideas in Spanish.”
The libraries have a wide variety of books for students to choose from. Topics range from mystery, to coming-of-age, to biographies. By choosing what they read, students are more involved in their own education. “I picked the book I’m reading because it’s about a singer I know,” says Linardopoulos. “I think knowing about her makes the Spanish easier to understand.”
“I like being able to pick the book because we can pick ones we’re interested in,” junior Olivia Ferhat adds. “I really like the books I’ve read.”
There are no assessments attached to free reading time. Students practice their Spanish skills by reading for pleasure. “It makes it easier for them to tackle assigned reading,” says Mr. Williams. “Students have less anxiety around the need to understand every word in Spanish, focusing instead on the big picture and key takeaways. Free reading helps them along the way.”
Students are encouraged to free read at all levels in Spanish, French, and Latin. The free reading libraries were funded by the Colonial School District Education Foundation through their Teacher Grant program. Click here to learn more about the Foundation.