One of the things that Laurie and I stressed in our Embedded Reading workshops this summer was the value of returning to the text in different ways and for different reasons. I haven’t really started to embed stories for my new Russian 1 students, because they aren’t exactly reading yet, but on the other hand, I am realizing how nice it is to spin out the focus on an individual story. Repeating in different ways makes it ever so much more possible that a student is going to acquire the vocabulary. With one group, we told a story, circling traditionally, then came back and added an actor. Then just one student drew it as I told it to him. We retold as a class again, based on the pictures. Then all the students did their own pictures as I retold it. After that we used the original drawing for a true/false quiz. We came back and “wrote” the story on the overhead, then added some tweaks (preparing them for embedded stories), and groups acted out the story again as I read it to them. Then the groups had to act it out in total silence. It was amazing to me how many were checking the written version by then, though they’re not supposed to be able to read yet.
These activities took place in 90-minute classes over the course of two days. Meanwhile we were learning a song, doing TPR, doing interviews, and repeating the interview information. This year, we’re also practicing writing, just for the interviews’ sake, not really for writing, or so I’m telling them. We’ll see whether this practice makes later writing easier. I think we need more early exposure to writing in Russian, because of the different alphabet. Otherwise the reading is too hard later.