Teachers know reading is essential to developing language proficiency, but we often struggle to integrate sufficient reading into our classes. One important piece of the puzzle is Free Voluntary Reading, or FVR. If you haven’t tried Free Voluntary Reading, now is the time to get started!
Free Voluntary Reading involves scheduling a certain amount of time – as little as 5 minutes, usually several times a week – where students can read whatever they like in the target language. You need to have a variety of high interest, comprehensible reading available, like this excellent FVR Library Bundle from Teacher’s Discovery. Then, start reading and watch as language proficiency grows!
Free Voluntary Reading Basics
The research behind FVR is fascinating and leaves no doubt as to how effective it is for language learners. I highly recommend Stephen Krashen’s book Free Voluntary Reading (2011), a compilation of his articles on the subject. He explains how FVR improves reading comprehension, writing skills, vocabulary, spelling and grammar.
A key principle of FVR is that it is student-centered, allowing students to choose material that interests them. That is why it is essential to have a wide variety of engaging, comprehensible texts. This Free Voluntary Reading library bundle includes novels from top authors, several enhanced readers, a graphic novel and more. There is enough variety to ensure students will find something they want to read.
As you make FVR a part of your classes, here are a few things to keep in mind.
First, you’ll need to build your classroom library. Be sure to have a variety of high-interest, easy reading materials available.
In addition, you will want to talk to your students about how to choose books. Although they don’t have to understand every word, the book they choose should be easy enough to be enjoyable and interesting to them. Remind students that if they don’t like something, they can choose something else the next time.
During FVR, It’s important for you to read too. By reading, you are teaching!
Of course, you will have to structure Free Voluntary Reading for your grade and group. Check out articles like this one from Srta. Spanish with specific FVR procedures..
Books for Free Voluntary Reading
As you have probably gathered, your classroom library is crucial to the success of FVR. It is essential that your titles be high-interest, but also comprehensible. In other words, you need to come up with a range of titles students understand and enjoy.
Some teachers with heritage speakers or students at an advanced level include selected magazines and children’s books. However, a strong library of novels and readers for Spanish language learners should make up the majority of your material. You can read about one teacher’s experience and how novels made the difference in this article by Teach for June: How I made Free Voluntary Reading a Success Like Never Before.
Mega-36 FVR Library Bundle
The Mega-36 Library Bundle I mentioned above is a great way to get started with FVR. The books are from Teacher’s Discovery, and with 36 different titles there is sufficient variety to reach a range of interests.
In addition, the bundle is composed of all Level 1 books. These are perfect for students at higher levels too because reading easy books is fun! It also reinforces important high-frequency language.
I love that this bundle includes 3 enhanced readers. You can read more about how these amazing books include audio and video here: Spanish Reading: Texts for Beginners.
More Book Bundles
Teacher’s Discovery has smaller bundles of 15 books divided by level. You can also buy a bundle based on favorite authors like Mira Canion or Jennifer Degenhardt. I encourage you to explore their bundles to find what works best for your students.
The Power of Free Voluntary Reading
We have known for years that independent reading is an effective way to learn. Whether it’s labeled SSR or FVR, engaging students with books they enjoy instills a love of reading and builds essential language skills.
In addition, for world language teachers who are often overwhelmed with preps, FVR is a no-prep oasis where they can actually build their own language skills (Yes, you really do read too.).
So, when it’s time to make decisions about how to allocate funds, buy books! Then, incorporate FVR into your classes!