3 Lap Reading

I get a lot of questions from CI teachers around reading:

  1. How should I teach novels?
  2. How should I teach this chapter?
  3. How do I get level one readers to engage with an authentic text?
  4. How do I differentiate reading?
  5. How do I get students to pay attention and make sure they’re actually reading and not just pretending?
  6. How do I get students to re-read the same passage again without it being boring?
  7. Etc…

One strategy that I love doing that helps combat all of these issues is what’s called “3 Lap Reading”. This strategy is used in high performing ELA and AP English classes a lot, and I’ve “CI-ified” it to make it work for my Spanish classes. Here’s how it works:

  1. Give students a text (this can work with any text – book chapter, authentic article, etc..)
  2. Lap 1 – Give students an annotation task to do independently or with a partner. Examples: Underline every cognate, Circle every time the character changes emotion, Put a box around all of the dialogue, Write in the column who is talking and when it’s narration, etc… Figure out whatever annotation task makes sense for the reading you’re doing. (If the chapter has a lot of narration, prompt students to annotate for when different people are talking).
  3. Lap 2 – Give students a comprehension question task to do independently or with a partner. After students complete Lap 1, give them comprehension questions (either on paper or projected), and tell them to read the text again, this time looking for the answers to these questions.
  4. Lap 3 – Give students a PQA / Reflection task to do. After lap 2, give students (either on paper or projected) a list of PQAs / Reflection tasks to do that forces them to re-read certain parts. Example: “Have you ever experienced something similar to what the character experienced on page 14, paragraph 3? Explain”.
  5. Aggressively Monitor each lap – Walk around with a copy of the text in your hand. Make sure your copy of the text is already annotated, has the comprehension questions, and has the PQA / Reflection questions identified. Look at student work as they’re engaged in each lap, and put a CHECK on student work that is annotated / answered completely, put a —— on student work that is incomplete (they annotated mostly but missed some, or they answered a question correctly but not all the way), and a X on student work that is wrong (they annotated incorrectly or have the wrong answer). For classes that struggle to stay on track, assign a grade to each lap by marking their paper.
  6. Bring it back whole group between each lap – Go over answers or do what’s called a “show call” – put a random student’s work under your doc cam and prompt the class to figure out if it’s correct, incomplete (and have the whole class chime in on how to complete it), or incorrect. Before releasing students to do the next lap, tell them “make sure your paper looks like this one.”

Here’s Why I love Lap Reading:

  1. It forces students to read whatever text you use multiple times BEFORE you ever go over the text whole group. By the time you’re ready to read or go over the text whole group, students will have already engaged with it and re-read it twice, sometimes 3 times.
  2. It allows for differentiation. For your lowest readers, you can assign simple tasks like search for cognates, box all of the dialogue, or search for certain vocabulary items. Your higher readers can engage more in Lap 3 and “go beyond the text” to think more about PQAs, predictions, and higher level tasks that require more output so they don’t get bored.
  3. It helps low readers better prepare and access the text for whole group reading. One of the biggest challenges our low readers have isn’t always the vocabulary, but rather knowing when a paragraph is narration, when it’s dialogue, and what the “set up” of the text is. By having them annotate and answer basic comprehension questions, they can find success.

3 Lap Reading Framework:

3 Lap Reading Example from “La Guerra Sucia Chapter 10” that I did with my students:

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