Total Words Read

Last year, I reported total words read up to holiday break, and it’s hard to believe that time of year is upon us again. Since part of my teacher eval goal is to increase input throughout the year, let’s compare numbers. 2018-19 students read over 20,000 total words of Latin by this time. However, this year’s students have read…uh oh…just 11,000?!?!

Hold up.

Something’s going on. I’m positive that students are reading more now, and for longer periods of time. Classes are now structured to be roughly half listening and half reading (i.e. Talk & Read), too. So…why don’t the numbers add up?! Surely there’s a reason. Let’s look into that, starting with this quote from last year’s post:

Over the 55 hours of CI starting in September up to the holiday break, students read on their own for 34 total minutes of Sustained Silent Reading (SSR), and 49 minutes of Free Voluntary Reading (FVR)…

This year’s independent reading time has skyrocketed to 99 and 233. That’s nearly 5x more independent choice reading! Now, last year’s 20,000 figure included an estimated 1,900 from FVR. Therefore, it’s not unreasonable to estimate that this year’s students have read something like 9,500 total words during FVR, which would be like reading a third of this paragraph worth of Latin per minute. If so, the year-to-year comparison would be very close (i.e. 20,000 vs. 20,500). However, I’d expect the numbers to be much higher now with even more of a focus on reading. Seeing as it’s really difficult to nail down a confident number during independent choice reading due to individual differences, then, let’s just subtract all that FVR time from both years, arriving at 18,100 to compare to this year’s 11,000, which is still quite the spread. Let’s do some digging…

At the start of 2018-19, I did a lot more collaborative storytelling. I printed and distributed all stories to each class section to read in class, as well as keep in their folders for reading at home (i.e. period 2 got their own story, as well as stories from period 3, 6, and 7). It turns out that I included all those texts in last year’s figure of 20,000. Whereas this year’s figure of 11,000 is precisely the number of actual total words read, last year’s would be more like the maximum of total words read. Now, we definitely spent some class time reading texts from other class sections, but upon looking through lesson plans, I can’t say that we read all of those available texts. It’s likely that only few students ended up reading the maximum number of total words read, 20,000.

Therefore, with this year’s methods, recalculating 2018-19 input by subtracting all those shared stories from other class sections entirely, the result is an adjusted figure of 5,500. However, we did read some of those shared stories in class, so that should be accounted for with a conservative estimate of 1,500, arriving at 7,000. If we were to include FVR from all shared texts read in class, looking at the minimum to maximum, that’d be a range of 8,900-20,000 (vs. this year’s 20,500)! Best case, we’re blowing those numbers out of the water by double! Worst case all 2019-20 students are reading more now than whoever (few?) from 2018-19 read the maximum amount. Even worst case is a success. Oh, and if we don’t count FVR at all, which is what I’ll be doing moving forward, that’d be 7,000 to 11,000, still good with an increase of 57%! Regardless, suffice to say that there’s more input that’s a lot closer to what I had in mind. After all, we’ve already read 4 novellas to just the one that 2018-19 students read by this time last year! A lot of this analysis confirms what I’ve observed, namely, that as I continue to use a comprehension-based and communicative approach to language teaching (CCLT), each year the students are able to read more, and sooner. What was once second year material is showing up at the end of the first year, etc. Anyone unsure of how CCLT might “prepare” students for whatever next step, it’s certainly looking like that’s the case.

Aside from input, here’s a comparison of activities used by holiday break. You’ll notice how I simplified things for 2019-20, which might have contributed to a stronger class flow, and more input. For example, we began independent reading sooner, and read 4x more novellas before holiday break. Also, I doubled down on Discipulus Illustris, holding it every Tuesday and Thursday for the first 10 weeks, did a text-based team game every Friday, and established other Monday/Wednesday routines. As a result of these routines, I didn’t need as many other activities as last year—half, in fact—and planning has been much easier, especially with that concept of Talk & Read. Here’s the list with unused 2018-19 activities crossed out. Happy holiday break!

Read & Discuss
Choral Translation
Card Talk

Item Talk
3 Ring Circus
Picture Talk
Discipulus Illustris

Calendar Talk
Quick Quiz

Listen & Draw
Read & Translate
K-F-D Quiz
OWI Profile
Spot-Check Translation

Silent Volleyball Translation
Storytelling while Drawing

Silent Sustained Reading (SSR)
Draw the Drawn Drawing

Silent True/False Reading
The septem Game!
Flyswatter PictureTalk

Story Cube Storyasking
Word Race
Storycube Reconstruction
Venn Diagram
Novella Study Groups
Read & Draw
Free Voluntary Read (FVR)

Most Detailed Scene
Create Teamz
Storyboard Dictation
Simple Survey

Timed Write
CALP-Inspired Topic Framework

Storycard Magic

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