First-year reading

After a wildly successful evening with adult students to whom I’d never given Cyrillic reading, I decided to mimic the lesson on Poor Anna with my first years.

I used the Scaffolding Literacy and TPRS reading ideas for the most part: I talked through the vocabulary, interviewing kids, described Anna and set up an “Anna” at the front of the room, set up a parallel figure (Anton), let them try to tell me about Anna, finally read a paragraph to them, then let them follow the reading with me, had little races to repeat to their neighbors, and repeated. I didn’t tell them that this was also an underhanded way of getting them to do first person reporting, but that was part of it. I did use the chance to bring in cultural ideas. The kid playing Anton was funny: he inserted facts about himself into the poem that we’d learned.

Maybe I used to expect too much too fast? Or didn’t make it comprehensible to everyone?

Essentially, I’ve put off reading this book until second year lately because it’s difficult in Russian, but since I have second-year kids in with upper levels, it’s hard to use it at all unless we do it in first year. Maybe because we’re having more fun with it and making fun of some of the ideas?

In other notes, I saw that Terry Thatcher Waltz gave the “Super 7” ideas that everyone needs in basic language classes. I liked her list because it’s not specific vocabulary, but concepts:

existence
possession
identity
preference
location
motion
desire/volition
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