Category Archives: Reading – A Great Resources for Reading Website Text in a Foreign Language – A Great Resources for Reading Website Text in a Foreign (World) Language (French, Spanish) No need to look up words in the dictionary or with an online translator with this useful translation website.  Enter a website address and you’ll be taken to a Lingro supported version of the page where every word is clickable. Click on a word to see its definition.  There are 11 languages available with translation available between each of the individual languages.  There are even ways to track the words that you click to check yourself after reading the page in the foreign language.

Foreign Language Reading Strategy: Highlighting

Text highlighting is a great way to assess what students understand in a reading without translating or responding to questions.  Decide on colors and review the colors and parts of speech with examples.  You way want to have students only focus on one particular part of speech (subjects = who?) or various responses.  This is also a helpful activity for students to practice recognizing parts of speech in a sentence.  You could also set it up so that students highlight various verb tenses to demonstrate their ability to recognize the tenses and contextualize them when reading.  It is likely that not all students will have all of the colors of highlighters.  In this case I have them complete the activity by rotating to stations around the room.

Foriegn (World) Language Reading Strategy: Highlighting (French, Spanish)

Foreign Language Reading Activity for Beginners

This activity gives beginner students an opportunity to see how much they  understand in the target language. To begin, the teacher posts 6 paragraphs written in the target language around the classroom. It is important to focus on vocabulary and structures that the class has covered. Students are given a set of questions whose answers can be found in each of the paragraphs. Students move around individually or in pairs to each paragraph and record the answers. This is a great beginning reading activity that can then be used to get students speaking in class once they have all of the information and the teacher verifies the information with the class orally.  Once students are familiar with this type of activity it can be used with more advanced vocabulary and structures in subsequent years.  It is a great way to focus on cultural elements as well.

These activities can be created using WORD documents.

You can download full versions here:    FRENCH     SPANISH

Classic Memory Game to Help with Vocabulary Retention

Classic Memory Game to Help with Vocabulary Retention (French, Spanish)

Students enjoy playing Memory to review and practice vocabulary.   The cards can also be printed back to back and used as flashcards with pictures on one side and words on the other. Depending on the level of the students, they can make sentence out loud each time they get a pair.  I have found that this is also a great station activity.

Download  Memory Games on these topics :

French Memory Games

Spanish Memory Games

Numbers 1-20
Sports and Activities
City Places
Class Objects
Food and Drinks
Fruits and Vegetables
Rooms ad Furniture
Musical Instruments
Jobs and Professions

Reading Comprehension and Teacher Read Aloud

Reading aloud by the teacher is often discouraged in the foreign language classroom as this puts the focus on the teacher and does not give the students an opportunity to practice reading aloud themselves. Reading aloud by the teacher, in fact, is particularly important for language learners at various stages of learning. Beginning readers tend to read word by word. Reading aloud by the teacher helps them to process larger language units and phrases rather than focusing on single words and translation. A study by Amer (ELT Journal) investigated the effect of teacher reading aloud on the reading comprehension of foreign language students reading a story. Results clearly demonstrated that the experimental group (teacher read aloud) outperformed the control group (student silent reading). This indicates that reading aloud by the teacher can have a significant positive effect on reading comprehension. It is interesting to try reading the story to students without having them follow along to see how much they understand, then to read along with the text. The decreased focus on word-level comprehension is emphasized here and it will show students in a very clear and obvious way that they do not need to translate word for word when reading. This will then, ideally, transfer to their own reading comprehension, either aloud or silently.

Foreign Language Word Recognition and Vocabulary Review

This is a fun way for students to practice or review vocabulary . The activity is  based on magic squares. There are 16 squares in each grid and each contains  a vocabulary word (vegetable vocabulary in the example below).   Below to the grid are 16  pictures. The student writes the number for the match in the grid. If done correctly, each row, column, and diagonal add up to 34.  Great as a class starter or for a substitute.  There is also a template below so you can make your own version with your own vocabulary.

You can make these activities in a WORD document using the template below or you can download the activities below the template that have the words and pictures in them.

Effective Reading in a Foreign Language

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As teachers proceed with reading and reading strategies in a foreign language, it is important to keep in mind these characteristics of successful and unsuccessful readers.  The list below will help teachers determine what reading strategies are needed by their students.

Using “Context Clues” to Determine Word Meaning

Using "Context Clues" to Determine Word Meaning (French, Spanish) wlteacher.wordpress.comWhen faced with an unfamiliar word, students need to consider the context of the word in order to locate clues for predicting the meaning.  Teachers often talk about using “context clues” to determine meaning, but there is very little published on what the strategies might be to engage this process.  Below are some suggestions for explicit instruction on determining the meaning of an unknown word.

Type of Word: Is the word used as a noun, verb, adjective, adverb, etc.?

  • Articles often preceded nouns.
  • Adjectives are typically before or after a noun, or after a form of “to be”
  • Nouns are often found after prepositions
  • Regular verbs have predictable endings
  • Subject pronouns often precede verbs
  • Adverbs are often found in front of or after verbs

Semantic Relationship: Other words in the sentence may provide clues to the meaning of a word.

  • The noun in a sentence may provide a clue to the meaning of the verb. For example: The architect designs buildings.
  • The verb in a sentence may provide a clue to the meaning of a noun. For example: The architect designs buildings.
  • Nouns and verbs may provide clues to the meaning of another word in a sentence. For example: The architect designed the building using a state-of-the-art computer program.

Using Proverbs in the Foreign Language Classroom

Using Proverbs in the Foreign (World) Language Classroom (French, Spanish) wlteacher.wordpress.comProverbs will very often reflect the history and values of a community of people (Ciccarelli, 1996). Since these phrases tend to be short, the vocabulary and sentence structure don’t require a lot of time to understand linguistically. When a new vocabulary list is presented to students, consider providing a few proverbs or idioms that use some of the words and engage a conversation about how the phrase might be important in the target language culture as well as who might use it and in what circumstances. This is also a great opportunity to have students reflect on cultural similarities and differences as they consider whether or not the proverb exists in English, and if not, why?

Here are some proverbs by language for use in the classroom:

Reference: Ciccarelli, A. (1996). Teaching culture through language: Suggestions for the Italian language class. Italica, 73(4), 563-576.

Foreign Language Text Types and Reading Strategies

Foreign (World) Language Text Types and Reading Strategies (French, Spanish) wlteacher.wordpress.comCompetent readers use various reading skills when approaching a text written in a foreign language.  Reading techniques vary depending on the type of text.  These different approaches and techniques help the reader to more effectively understand a particular writing style or content.  Students are better able to engage and understand a text in the target language when the accompanying activities are scaffolded toward these styles.

Keep these ideas in mind when developing reading activities:

  • When reading for specific information, activities need to provide ways for students to ask themselves, “Have I obtained the information I was looking for?”
  • When reading for pleasure, activities should lead students need to ask themselves, “Do I understand the story line/sequence of ideas well enough to enjoy reading this?”
  • When reading for thorough understanding (intensive reading), Activities should be geared toward students asking themselves, “Do I understand each main idea and how the author supports it? Does what I’m reading agree with my predictions, and, if not, how does it differ?” To check comprehension in this situation, students may stop at the end of each section to review and check their predictions, restate the main idea and summarize the section

Traditional comprehension questions are a useful tool, but they can be modified to scaffold student engagement with the text so that they are better able to navigate the various styles and objectives of the text. Here are come additional suggestions from the NCLRC.