CI Reading Strategies

Reading in the target language can be divided into three phases: pre-reading, reading, and post-reading. Each of theses phases is important to contributing to student comprehension and literacy in the target language. Below is a list of reading stratgies which I have collected and written about on my blog (if there is not a link, it means that I plan to write about it).

Why is reading important to language acquisition? According to Krashen:
“Our reading ability, our ability to write in an acceptable writing style, our spelling ability, vocabulary knowledge, and our ability to handle complex syntax is the result of reading.”
I always say that reading is where the magic happens in language acquisition!
As Carol Gaab states, "The brain CRAVES novelty," so for one story, I may do 2-3 different activities for prereading, while I may do 5-6 different post-reading activties. For the next story, I will do completely different set of prereading and postreading activities in order to preserve novelty.  

PreReading (anything used to preview vocab/structures)
- TPRS/Ask a Story
- running dictatio

Reading (the actual act of reading a story for the first time)

Post Reading (anything used as a consolidation of the actual reading for review/reps)
- Circling
- Find the sentence relay
- embedded writing


  1. This is the single best blog post I have seen in all of my searches for activities linked with TCI. I am new to the teaching method and am constantly seeking ways to reinforce stories and structures while maintaining novelty (I teach Spanish and have quite a mix of native and non-native students in my classes). Thank you so much for the clear directions and your commentary and observations. And kudos for making a "dead language" so full of life!

  2. Thank you for putting this list together!

  3. I've been trying to find good examples and resources for "Ask a Story." There are some difficulties in formatting and carrying out this activity that I'm having. Do you have any suggestions or places for me to look? I've been trying to illicit story ideas from students in Latin, but there is only so much they can do. Is this something that you do with your students or do you allow them to suggest things in English?

  4. Honestly, I find asking a story very difficult. When I do "Ask a Story," I already have the main story set in terms of plot, but I will ask students for incidental/non-important details to add, e.g., "Ashley heads for the bedroom (a set detail). How does Ashley head for bedroom? Does she crawl? Jump? Hop?" This way, students can feel like they are contributing details to the story, but at the same time, I am still the one controlling the story. Depending on the level of the class, I will allow students to suggest in English, and I will rephrase in Latin.

    1. I hear you. That's what we did for our first story and it went really well. It was almost like a Latin Mad Lib. But this second was a little more rough. I am having to think about some of my sequencing and how I may lead up to an "Ask a Story" type activity. It just seems to be a bit out of their reach at this point, they will probably more equipped in Latin 2 or 3.

  5. Does the reading part of a story in a CI classroom mostly just involve a read-through of the story aloud in Latin? How often do you use the choral reading as a way to establish meaning before doing post reading activities? If you don't do choral reading, are there other things you can do to establish meaning before post reading? Would you simply project the text, read aloud/act as you read, and ask what the students got out of the initial go-through? Would you highlight the skeletal structure of the text (like main verb, sub, and obj of each sentence) and go through that? Thank you for you advice!

    1. The actual reading is a translation of the story/passage into English in order to establish meaning. When students first see the reading, I will project it and go through it a sentence at a time by translating it into English. During this time, I may do a pop-up grammar by pointing out a grammar point, but I am not going to parse the sentence. I may ask "What Latin word serves as the verb?" "What word means X?" What does this -ba- in the verb always tell me?" I like doing a choral reading for establishing meaning, because everyone can be on the same page regarding meaning of words. If I have introduced new vocabulary prior to the reading, then I will always do a choral reading.