I teach English, Social Justice and Philosophy as well as Spanish. In English, we start every class with silent reading, and I usually read a kids’ novel.
The other day, as we were doing our “what did you do yesterday?” part of our opening routine, I said “last night, I was reading a book” and a kid asked “which book?”
I’m reading The Unlikely Hero of Room 13B (in English) and so I held it up and said “I’m reading this.” A kid asked in English “what happens?” and I narrated Chapter One in Spanish, in story listening mode (i.e. I drew some pictures on the board, and some lines, and words):
There is a boy named Adam. He is 14. He has a Mom, a dad and a half-brother. His parents are divorced. He likes playing videogames and reading. He also has O.C.D. He goes to a therapy group. One day in his therapy group, a girl walks in. Her name is Robyn. She has dark hair and dark eyes, and she is beautiful. Adam falls in love with Robin. But there is a problem: she is older! And Adam does not think she likes him!
Now, this is massively simplified vocabulary– these are Spanish 1s after about 60 hrs of input– but I am able to get the main points across.
So basically, what I did was this:
- I narrated the story one sentence at a time.
- I left out extraneous detail, words I didn’t know in Spanish, and anything that would clutter the narrative.
- I drew simple pictures of the main characters on the board (and a few pictures of other things in the story). As per Beniko Mason’s ideas, this slowed me down and made the language more comprehensible for kids.
- I did a few convos in exaggerated voices.
- I left the kids at a cliffhanger chapter ending.
Today, I narrated Chapter Two. The kids are pretty into it. Basically, all I have to do is narrate a chapter a day (adding some wacky-voice dialogue) and boom! I have a good ten minutes of C.I. per class. On Monday, I’m gonna review Ch1 and 2 in past tense, and I’m gonna narrate Ch3 in present tense. Stay tuned!