I have just read more from Foreign Language Education The Easy Way by Krashen. It has helped to give me some insight into reading. What I am about to write about can be found on pages 20-22 and also the Conclusion section.
I have been having a discord with the reading that we are doing here at school. I have been noticing that the students do not really want to do it and are many times frustrated because they do not understand. Many times students do not pay attention to what we are doing. Why is this happening? Is it me? Well, yes, it is partly me because I am still new, but there is more to it. [This may be long]
The thing is, we are beginning them in sheltered popular literature before they are at the intermediate stage. I view level two as being the second part of the beginning stage. A World Language level program could look like this:
Level I and II: Beginning stage, full of CI, stories, readings as a class, and FVR
Level III and possible IV: Intermediate stage, they have required enough CI to do Sheltered Popular literature in class, like novels, comics, articles, etc. This is the stage where the students read on their own more and we are going through the same text as a class.
Level IV Honors and V/AP: Intermediates moving toward advanced. These students begin in the intermediate stage and move to more academic language. This can include grammar or language that is associated with a specific academic field, like business, economics, classical literature, poetry, etc. More specialized topics.
If we decide to do the steps before the class as a whole is ready, then this may result in students being bored or frustrated. As a unit they are not ready yet. The great thing is that if FVR is implemented, than the more advanced students who are ready and want to read more advanced material will be satisfying this need through their chosen FVR texts. They will still be getting more advanced CI and moving at their own pace.
A level two classes needs to be filled with CI that motivates and gives confidence to the students. They need to feel comfortable in the language before they can move on to more advanced reading. This level is still building the framework of the language. There is so much to be accomplished in this phase that time is better spent focusing on adding more CI in a personal way, than moving to sheltered subject matter. Students in the beginning levels are looking for meaning. They want to know how to say things, rather than read sheltered material. They have not acquired enough CI or the necessary confidence in the language. They may be capable, but generally they are not developmentally ready. I am speaking in complete generalizations. Obviously, there are exceptions. But I feel that many of the exceptions will fulfill their needs through FVR.
Am I full of hot air or is this all true? It seems to all make sense now.