In most Spanish textbooks there will be at least one reading passage that relates to the theme of the chapter. There will usually be a few vocabulary words from the chapter within the text, but there will also be a lot of unfamiliar words. I have found that an assignment like this is a perfect opportunity for an interactive classroom activity.
Before the students read the passage we talk about any pictures that are included and we go over the meaning of the title. This is to get the students interested and thinking. Once we have come up with what we think the theme of the passage is, I break the class up into groups of four.In each group I will include at least one strong Spanish student. Each group is assigned a section of the reading. They are to read their section in Spanish and discuss what they think it means in English. When they are done, they will read and explain their section to the rest of the class.The more advanced students will help the struggling students with any difficult grammar or vocabulary.
After the students are done reading, and they understand the gist of what is being said, they are to write down four questions in Spanish that relate to their section. These questions will be used later. Now the group members decide who will read the passage out loud to the rest of the class and who will provide a rough translation in English. When all of the groups are done, the students that covered the first section will read it in Spanish and explain the meaning in English. Each group will do this until the entire passage has been read and explained.
At this point the class will read the passage out loud in its entirety. The instructor can call on individuals to read or he can even read it himself.Now one member from each group will write their questions, specific to their section, on the board. As a class the questions are answered through discussion and the instructor’s help, if need be. A few of these questions can be used on the next exam to test student comprehension of the reading.