jGR and Reading Classes

One of the bread and butter moves we use in Read and Discuss is the choral reading part. I understand from Jody and others that choral reading is a big player in a reading class.

I understand that when we merely read a text to a kid, it is a lot less effective than when we read chorally and the kids are forced to translate with us aloud. Right? (somebody confirm that for me.)

Now, how do we evaluate our kids in stories? By what we see. It is a visual evaluation using jGR of what we see the kids doing, and especially what we see in their eyes.

But what about Read and Discuss, for both novels and readings based on stories? Well, what I do is walk up and down the isles of the classroom and listen. If I hear the kid’s voice, I have confirmation that they are involved. I listen.

Thus, for those who might want to consider this, we can say that we evaluate using jGR in stories visually, and we evaluate using jGR in readings in an auditory way.

 

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9 thoughts on “jGR and Reading Classes”

  1. I think reading chorally has its place and time, like awaking a group from a sleepy haze or just generally bringing the class together to the word. But I personally keep it to under 10% of our total reading/translating. I think that, especially for slower language processors, it can interfere with them negotiating meaning by turning their attention to their classmates’ words, so that they can appear to know what the reading says. Does that make sense? It’s the same reason I limit TPR, and the reason why I do a lot of one on one mini-conversations with students within our group discussion. As many of us do.

    But like I said, I do like reading chorally’s ability to bring cohesion and urgency to the moment.

  2. But I personally keep it to under 10% of our total reading/translating. I think that, especially for slower language processors, it can interfere with them negotiating meaning by turning their attention to their classmates’ words, so that they can appear to know what the reading says. Does that make sense? It’s the same reason I limit TPR, and the reason why I do a lot of one on one mini-conversations with students within our group discussion. As many of us do.

    Jim,

    I would really like appreciate it if you could elaborate on what exactly it is you do during the readings if only 10 percent of it is choral reading. I have seen the benefits of choral reading in terms of getting everyone involved and on the same page. I think it definitely allows some slower processors to rely on the other students’ words. Yes, they are not negotiating meaning alone, but aren’t they getting a benefit of visually seeing the word, while hearing the translation that their classmates are offering? I don’t mean that as a rhetorical question, I am really trying to figure out how I want to approach reading in my classes.

    What is the other 90% of reading that you do in class? You mention one-on-one work, I’m not clear on how that works in a tprs setting. Are you discussing the story or novel in target language? What are the other students doing? My big fear in reading is leaving the slower students behind, and that is one of the appealing features of choral reading, is that (if done properly) it doesn’t allow anyone to fall behind.

    My kids are doing FVR twice a week for 8 minutes at the outset of class, but other than that all of the reading we have been doing is choral. I would really like to start a novel soon, but am worried about the boredom of doing it all chorally.

    1. The other 90% of the time, David, I would say I’m using:

      -Read and Discuss (no translations necessarily)
      -individual student translations to the class
      -me translating slowly and stopping for them to fill in the word (popcorn reading?)
      -students translating in pairs and taking turns per sentence/paragraph, -students reading silently (I try to require them to clarify parts they don’t understand by saying “ok, any questions? You are sending me the message that you understand everything (in the given passage) by not asking for clarification. So I feel ok about asking anyone to translate anything up here.” That somewhat holds them accountable re their participation grade (Are they clarifying meaning?). Probably wouldn’t say this about novels, like during SSR, because we don’t want they focusing on the stuff they don’t understand while reading longer stuff. Plus there’s a glossary in the novels that they can use.
      -CLOZE activies, where they are reading the text in order to figure out the missing words
      -Listening to audio of text, them following along with finger and me stopping and asking a student to translate the last word read (rarely do this, only if I need to put the hammer down a bit, I don’t think it is real effective for comprehension building because most audios are so darn fast [except Esperanza, Carol Gaab’s new novel, which I would put on the “Best Novels” list for sure])
      -SSR a page/chapter followed by questions (quiz or not). Students who read faster keep on reading ahead.
      -Illustrate a passage or parts of a passage. I like to do this with stories from other classes that mimic the target language we’re currently working with. Each paragraph gets it’s own frame, using a 4 or 5 o 6 frame “film strip” style drawing.
      -“choral” signing/gesturing of a passage

      Of course, some of the strategies I use above are for reading novels only, some are for reading stories we’ve made up as a class only, and some both. I’m sure I’ve left out a few strategies too. (That’s why I’d love to find the post on this site where we all brainstormed reading strategies like the ones above, I’d like to review it and print it out.)

      When I said “one-on-one conversations” I was talking about during R&D or during stories, so instead of relying on group answers for the majority of my formative/informal assessment, I try to engage individual students more and kind of PQA individually with them re our discussion/story. Of course, the rest of the class is accountable for knowing what we’re saying also, and I do that by looking at the student whom I’m talking with but also glancing often back at the class to make sure they’re with us and confirming with the class via Q&A what that student is telling me.

      Re my claim about slower processors perhaps being hindered by the choral reading, I can expand on that if my point isn’t clear. But basically I’m trying to say that I think they start to depend on the English words coming out of their classmates mouths, rather than on their own processing of the target language, to give the impression they are up to the task. To check to see if this is the case, while you’re chorally reading, have a slower processor finish translating the passage if they appear to be translating along with everyone else during the choral reading. If they are nowhere near as quick as they were during the choral reading, then they were probably focusing more on the groups’ translation than on the actual meaning of the target language. Does that make any sense? I may be completely off base here, but that’s how I see at the moment.

      But I’m curious to hear what others here have to say about this also.

      1. …have a slower processor finish translating the passage if they appear to be translating along with everyone else during the choral reading. If they are nowhere near as quick as they were during the choral reading, then they were probably focusing more on the groups’ translation than on the actual meaning….

        That’s it Jim, thanks. Right on. But, again, I don’t think that that is a bad thing in the sense of it being like a slow runner being pulled along by a faster runner to her benefit.

        My question in this thread is about the overall value of choral reading (the expert here is Jody). We have been having some really excellent reading classes lately in which they read silently for ten minutes (to start class) and then we chorally translate what they read and then we discuss it and then take a quiz and, if time, a dictee on it.

        I feel that what is making these classes go so well (i.e. – they seem happy and content with all aspects of the class) is that there is a real slow (read “clear/transparent”) feel to the class. It is like that majestic slow thing somebody wrote in a comment.

        It should be majestically transparent to them in both stories and readings, right? Anyway, like Dave, i just want to know if I could be doing things any differently to greater effect in my reading classes.

      2. Jim,

        Thanks so much for explaining further. I love seeing all those different ideas for reading classes, to break up the staleness.

        My basic concern is verifying that the kids understand what they are reading (I am thinking about stories we read in class, not novels or FVR). Just from my experience today (and perhaps it is because I unwittingly threw in too many words that they didn’t know), after the 5 minute silent reading time the overall comprehension level was still pretty low, which I found out by doing the choral reading. I feel like with many of the other activities they can simply fake it, whereas with choral reading, at the very least the meaning is being made clear by the stronger students, so that the weaker ones can follow the story. Obviously, anything that involves me or individual students translating out loud takes care of that issue as well. I just wonder about the comic drawing in that context, or the partner work. I would love to be able to do partner work (because it is highly valued at the school, and because it gives me more of a breather) but I just wonder about how much comprehensible input they can really get when working with a partner.

  3. For the choral readings I did today, I had a student holding the laser to point to the words, and a “reader leader” who sat in the front of the class and was responsible for leading the reading. They always fight to use the laser (I made it clear that if they f#% around with it, they won’t ever touch it the rest of the year), but in one class no one volunteered to be the reader leader. Finally one girl did, and she is a highly ADD kid, and somewhat slow processor. Those two kids knew that they had to stay synchronized. I originally wanted a strong kid up there to lead them, but I think it worked out really well with a weaker kid (but who volunteered). She stayed much more focused than normal and the whole class went a bit slower so that everyone could follow along better. So, perhaps that is another tweak for choral reading.

  4. I like that. It lets her shine and slows it down for your slower processors. She probably feels very safe in your class. Congratulations.

  5. Good job dude. Nice. You got support from an unexpected source. This sends a big message to the others. Keep exploring the jobs piece! It is a new thread this year and a much more powerful one than I ever thought.

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