TFLTA
2008 Annual Conference
Franklin, TN.
Engaging Activities to Improve
Reading Comprehension
Alejandra Lejwa
Rocío Rodríguez del Río
Hutchison School
Memphis, TN
This presentation is available at:
https://lejwa.wikispaces.com/
Suggestions
• Start working on reading skills at
beginning levels.
• Approach reading as a communicative
activity.
• Provide activities for different learning
styles.
• Be creative and meaningful!
The Place for Reading
• In programs focused on oral proficiency, there is
little space for working on reading skills
• Students at intermediate or advanced levels of
oral proficiency will need reading skills to
continue their study of the foreign language
• In those instances in which reading is taught
there is a tendency to frame reading activities in
passive or individual contexts
Challenges for the Students
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Time to work on reading
Insufficient vocabulary or poor dictionary skills
Tendency to translate the whole text
Difficulty reading beyond the text
Difficulty retaining
Difficulty connecting
with other work
• Lack of knowledge
of world history
Understanding the Act of
Reading
Bolero de Ravel
Understanding the Act of
Reading
Pre-reading preparation guides
Reading
Making it
enjoyable
quick
productive
Avoiding
frustration
loss of
confidence
in language
skills
Pleasure Reading
Finding a reading partner
– Small group reading
– Whole class reading
– Community reading
Creating a reading space
- Corner or center of the classroom
- Going outside
- Beach chairs, pillows, and bean bags
- Lie down on the grass or floor
- Change sitting arrangements
- Bringing food
Other
- Reading out loud
- Acting out scenes
- Becoming a character
Pre-reading
and
Post-reading
Activities
Selecting Goals
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Understand vocabulary
Stimulate background knowledge
Increase cultural and historical knowledge
Promote understanding
Make connections
Reflect on concepts, ideas, images, etc.
Retain and use newly acquired vocabulary
Videos
Cultural content and history
Examples:
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Los Sanfermines
La Tomatina
Cuba
Alhambra
Videos
Connections to movies for deeper understanding
- Comparing characters
“La viuda de Montiel” short story by Gabriel Garcia Marquez
and The Official Story (movie by Luis Puenzo and Aída Bortnik)
- Comparing themes
“El laberinto del Fauno” (movie by Guillermo del Toro) and
poem “El beso de los dragones” by Wilfredo Machado.
Comics
Anticipation / reflection
to promote understanding
Quino and “Un señor muy viejo con unas alas
enormes” by Gabriel García Márquez
Comics
Anticipation / reflection
to promote understanding
Quino and “Cartas de amor traicionado” by
Isabel Allende
Pictures
Connection with characters
– Pictures of Quijote by different artists at
different times
Pictures
Connection with places
– Pictures of different environments
Horacio Quiroga and pictures of rain forest
Isabel Allende and pictures of the dessert
Videos
Connections to commercials
Focus on meaning
Example:
“El arbol de oro”,short story by Ana Maria
Matute, and Aerolíneas Argentinas
commercial
Paintings
Comparing concepts
Understanding characters
Understanding historical background
Understanding literary movements
Examples:
Comparing the art of Botero with Picasso, Goya, El Greco, Orozco,
Rivera, etc.
“Las meninas” de Velazquez and the Baroque
“El nacimiento de Venus” by Botticelli and the Renaissance Poetry
Pictures
Historic and cultural background
– “Miré los muros de la patria mía”
Pictures
Historic and cultural background
- Romances
Art - Scrapbooking
• Summarizing stories
• Retaining characters’ descriptions
Examples:
Creating a scrapbook about all stories read
throughout the semester / year.
Designing a poster for each story.
Art – Drawing / Crafts
• Emotional connections with characters
• Understanding characters and their situations
• General understanding
Examples:
Making the stick doll (“La rama seca” by A. M. Matute)
Drawing “Pipa” and the pretty doll (“La rama seca” by A. M. Matute)
Drawing a modern Chac Mool after reading the short story
“Chac Mool” by Carlos Fuentes.
Making paper flowers and “papel picado” for Day of the
Dead
Songs
Anticipation / Reflection
to promote understanding
– “El hijo del capitán trueno” by Miguel Bose
and “El difícil arte de ser macho” by Pedro
Juan Gutiérrez
Songs
Making connections with other contexts
Retaining vocabulary
Example:
“Carta de amor” by Juan Luis Guerra and
“Cartas de amor traicionado” by Isabel Allende.
Songs
Historic and cultural background information
– Literary Movements – Surrealism
“Eungenio Salvador Dalí” by Mecano
– Story “Los mejores calzados” by Luisa
Valenzuela and song “Solo le pido a Dios” by
Leon Gieco
Creative Writing
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Comparative learning
Applied knowledge of cultural and historical information
Emotional connection with text
Vocabulary retention and use
Examples:
Letter to author, character, or artist.
Comparing stories by same author.
“La rama seca” – “El arbol de oro” (Ana María Matute)
Comparing stories with same or opposite topic / characters / ambience.
“El avión de la Bella Durmiente” – “El décimo”
“Las medias rojas” – “Dos palabras”
La tomatina – “Oda al tomate”
Creating poems and songs.
Other Texts
Comparative learning and discussion
Applied knowledge of cultural and historical information
Examples:
Newspaper articles (Botero)
Other stories by same author
“La rama seca” – “El arbol de oro” (Ana María Matute)
Other stories with same or opposite topic / characters / ambience
“El avión de la Bella Durmiente” – “El décimo”
“El árbol de oro” – “La rama seca” – “La luz es como el agua”
“Las medias rojas” – “Dos palabras”
La tomatina – “Oda al tomate” (poem by Pablo Neruda_
Reading
Guided Reading
• Breaking text into sections
– Activating background knowledge to understand vocabulary
– Answer comprehension questions on the go
– Community reading
• Drawing characters and places
– Draw according to descriptions
• Creating scene
– Make a collage or act out a part
• Picturing the environment
– Look at art or pictures to identify described environment
Questions and Collaboration
This presentation is available at:
https://lejwa.wikispaces.com/
Presenters
Alejandra Lejwa, MA
Upper School Spanish Instructor
World Language Department Chair
Hutchison School
[email protected]
Rocio Rodriguez del Rio. Ph.D.
Upper School Spanish Instructor
Hutchison School
[email protected]
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Engaging Activities to Improve Reading Comprehension