I am reposting this for Udo who had questions about SSR:
Here is a strategy that eats up minutes; I should say gobbles them up. I would call it a bail out move but there is nothing about reading that could be put in that category. Read and Tell is a solid instructional strategy that holds kids’ feet to the fire while bring them great gains in the area that matters most in CI – reading.
What you do is this:
Take all the novels that you have for a certain grade level that are below the level of the kids’ reading ability. (In my opinion the term “novels” should be “chapter books” as per Robert Harrell but the term seems to have taken hold.)
Put the books out on a table. Ask the kids to go pick one out. They sit and read “their” novel for the ten minute SSR reading period to start class. (They can put a novel back and start another one; the point here is that they read anything that is easy for them to read. I don’t use FRV storybooks any more because those books are not filtered for vocabulary the way the novels are.)
I always extend the reading time if they are reading happily because when they are doing that in a foreign language they are learning more far than they ever could from me as their teacher in a formal class setting, and that includes creating a story.
Here’s the new part:
When the reading period is over, go around the room and give each kid thirty seconds to share in English what is going on in their book. They LOVE to do that. Plus, they get to know each other better, the quieter ones have a chance to speak, and the pressure of being the master of ceremonies is taken off of us. In terms of gobbling up minutes, with certain students, they often start a class discussion in English about some weird thing in the book so be careful on that, except of course if you want to snooze through the class because you are overworked and underpaid. It’s not such a bad thing to do, and the kids don’t notice it. Remember: there is no CI Police Force….