In a previous post, I detailed some activities for pre-reading activities with novels. In this post, I will explain some during reading activities with novels. For a first chapter especially in level 1 (or level 2 if they have not read a novel before), I will read a few sentences, and students will translate them. I do this for the first chapter to ensure that students understand it and to build their confidence. I also tell them that they can volunteer to translate some sentences, or I will find one for them. This helps build their confidence, and it allows them to choose what some sentences where they feel confident.
Another way that I help with independent reading is by creating reading guides. On reading guides, I make two columns. On one column, I put the page number and the questions. On the other column, I include space for them to answer the questions. With a reading guide, I include key words or phrases for them to look up or just define. I also will have them sketch out a few parts of the scene. I also will ask comprehension or extension questions. Here is an example of a chapter that I used with Chapter 3 of La Calaca Alegre.
I also ask the similar questions and have students respond on mini whiteboards. This makes whole class reading more interactive. Plus, it allows me to vary the activities. (It is also low prep for me since I don’t have to print anything ahead of time!) I use the same types of questions- vocabulary identification, comprehension questions, extension questions and drawing of scenes.
PearDeck is one of my favorite tech tools if you are 1:1! You can ask questions using this platform then students can all answer at once. It is an interactive slideshow where everyone can participate. I write questions ahead of time then we move through the questions as we go through the novel. It also has the option for a quick question in case a question comes up as you are reading. Again, I focus on questions that are comprehension based or focus on key words. The options for PearDeck include a short paragraph or multiple choice. You can also embed videos into PearDeck. As we were reading La Calaca Alegre, I wanted to highlight horchata since the characters drink it. I embedded this video into my PearDeck to break up our reading. These features are all included in the free version. If you have the paid version, you can also have students draw on the slides as well.
Another low tech alternative is to use sticky notes. You can have students come up with a few questions they have on the chapter and post them on the board. You can then review the questions as a group trend instead of individual. You could also have students write down any words that they didn’t understand then answer all of their questions. If you are creating mind maps, you could have students record down a few important words that they want to add to their list/map.
For a quick no-prep reading activity, you could create a chart with the main question words in your target language (who, what, when, where, why and how). Then students could fill in the chart as they read the chapter. You could also have a sheet with 3 to 4 points. You could have students write down the 3-4 most important events in the chapter then have students compare notes with a partner.
Now it is your turn to share! What is your favorite activity to do during reading novels?