My student is enthusiastic about reading, but only when the book is written in Spanish.

My student is enthusiastic about reading, but only when the book is written in Spanish.

Yesterday was a busy day in the classroom after we missed a week of school. I was glad that the teacher still let me work with my tutee at our scheduled time. We started cutting foods out of advertisements to learn the names of the foods, and then we glued them on our grocery bags which we used to tell a story. My tutee loved this! After we finished the food activity, he wanted to keep going through the paper and pick out the things he wanted to buy and he attempted to say as many of the words as possible. I started the lesson off by reading the book Today is Monday by Eric Carle. This was a major breakthrough for us because this was the first book written in English that he enjoyed listening to. In fact, by the third page he was reading along with me. Almost every time I work with him, he asks me to read him his favorite books that are written in Spanish. I feel bad telling him I can’t and then asking him to choose one of the English books. Is it ok if I start by reading him his book and then go into the tutoring session in English? Should I reward him at the end of the session? It just doesn’t seem right to tell a child I can’t read to him.

Possible Strategies:
I felt the same way the past few times about letting my tutee read in Spanish also. It makes our sessions ten times better when my student is able to read to me in Spanish first. I think it breaks the ice a little. What I do now is come in five minutes early so she can read to me in Spanish, and then we begin our lesson. I think personally that it would be bad (for my student anyway) if I tell her, “No, you can’t read to me in your first language,” since the first thing she does is come running over to me with her new library book! So I’ve adapted my time so we can do this and it really makes her feel important because she has to retell the story back to me in English. It makes her feel like a teacher as well! Maybe you could try something like this!