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How to use Novels in class

Does one of the following apply to you?

  • You’ve been wanting your students to read more
  • You’ve been hearing about other teachers using novels and you’re curious
  • You’ve purchased one or some novel(s) from a company like TPRS Books
  • You have a colleague who keeps talking about using novels

All of those lead us to one thing: getting our students to read more in the language we teach them. 

But why do we want to do this? Well, to deliver them with more opportunities for R.I.C.H. input with variety. Because we understand that the best way to increase our students’ fluency is to provide them with more input!

Ok, so now what? What do we do with novels in our classroom?

In TPRS®, we use novels to supplement and build students’ desire to read for pleasure. 

There are two main ways that you can do this.

1. Recreational Reading Program / Choice Reading

You can use any of our novels as part of a recreational reading program. 

In this setup, a teacher would teach the curriculum (such as our easier-to-teach than ever Look, I Can Talk digital curriculum), but then allow a certain amount of time per day/week/quarter for students to select a book and read it. How to read for pleasure should be modeled by the teacher if done in the classroom. This is often done in class due to availability of books and keeping track of books (if students were to check them out). But with the ebook library, it could also be done as homework via an electronic device. You might also search for “Free Voluntary Reading” or “Silent Sustained Reading”.

In the first level, the instructor might choose a class set for us to read. This would be to build up their confidence with reading so they later could do the reading on their own. Bart wants a cat would work great for this as it is a Choose Your Own Adventure style reader. So we could read it together and I could ask questions. The Teacher’s Guide / Simpli-Guide  can help with figuring out questions to ask. And Bart could be used in any level as you can see in this blog post.

Then, as needed, do a different book each quarter to train your students to read on their own.

  • 10 minutes of every class
  • or 10 minutes 2-3 times a week

This would be in addition to the curriculum. Not part of the curriculum. And to build up your classroom library, you might check out our library packs OR our ebook library.

2. Novels as part of the curriculum

It’s possible to teach the curriculum to get the students confident in the high frequency language that they will then encounter later in the novel. Then a teacher might teach with a novel for 1-2 weeks as something different from the curriculum. It would be possible to borrow heavily from the Teacher’s Guide / Simpli-Guide to get various activities about the content in the novel and even a final assessment. 

The teacher would most likely be reading with the students and the book chapter(s) themselves could function as the lessons for each day, with review of previous content. The focus is on the content in the book and the students acquire the language necessary to talk about what’s going on. Some teachers might like 1 book a quarter, while others might do 1 book a semester or 1 book a year. It depends on each individual’s priorities. 

Once the book is completed, resume with the curriculum. Some teachers might choose a book at the end of each semester to have the language from the semester culminating in a final activity (reading a novel). Then the final assessment for the novel could function as a semester final.

So now it’s time to get your students reading!

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