Active Engagement Reading Strategies

Based on a presentation I gave at a CCFLT conference in Glenwood Springs, here are several reading strategies to get students actively engaged in their learning.

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When introducing new words, I always spend 3-7 minutes on TPR, to get students to repeatedly hear the pronunciation and connect the word with muscle memory. For example: I would do this with the words mira (looks) hacia (towards), and tiene miedo de (is scared of)  for the upcoming story.

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Running Dictation Relay can be used as a pre-reading or post-reading activity. For this lesson, I used it as a pre-reading activity. Post these separate sentences (9 dictation relay) in the hallway outside your classroom as a pre-reading strategy for this embedded reading.  Source:

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Steps for Choral Reading
1.     Display the reading on the board.
2.     Point to self and read first short sentence or phrase in reading.
3.     Point to students. Students translate that short sentence into English. Ensure 100% compliance.
4.     Repeat with next sentence.
5.     When students are stuck, clarify, then repeat the choral phrase for that sentence.
6.     To go deeper, ask questions about the grammar:
“What does the ‘o’ do in corro?” “What does the ‘le’ do?” “Why is it contenta and not contento?”

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Ping-Pong Reading
1.     Students have passage/book in hand.
2.     Student A always starts.
3.     Student A reads one sentence in Spanish.
4.     Student B translates sentence to English.
5.     Student B reads next sentence in Spanish.
6.     Student A translates to English. A reads… etc
*Ping-pong could easily be adapted to asking and answering conversation questions

Airplane Reading
1.     Desks are arranged in paired rows.
2.     Partner A always starts.
– Use Ping-Pong reading instructions
– Partner A asks a question. Partner B answers.
– Then, Partner B asks, Partner A answers.
3.     1-2 minutes, then Partner B moves up one seat to their new partner.
For READING: Partner A asks “Where did you leave off?” Students always start closer to the top of the reading because repetition builds mastery.

I have compiled a list of the most engaging strategies I use in my class. You can download it here: Active Engagement Strategies Cheat Sheet


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