Write about the last book you read. What do you like to read? When do you read? Describe some strengths and weaknesses you have with reading and writing. What are some things you like to do (interests or hobbies)?
I used this as a prompt for a quick write. Students had a few minutes to write about themselves. I noticed that many of my students liked this prompt that had to do about themselves. I found that this was a great way to find out more about my students’ literacy because I had the opportunity to see their writing and they had a chance to let me know about their feelings about reading and writing.
I learned a great deal about my students, not only about their literacy but about their likes and dislikes. Having a writing prompt allowed them to write a little more in depth. I found out about some of the books the students were reading as well as some of the trends in the “hit” books. Many students wrote about liking to read but that the book had to be interesting for them to really like to read. One of the things I found surprising is that a great deal of them said they were good readers and that they wrote well. I felt I got honest answers when many went into detail in what they had issues. Some pointed out that they were awful spellers while others said they had problems with grammar.
I enjoyed having the opportunity to read their responses because I also learned a great deal about who they are. They told me about the genres of books they liked to read and what they liked to do (hobbies/ activities). As a foreign language teacher, I would like to incorporate readings in Spanish about the things they like. For example, in the location I am teaching at the moment a big trend is surfing and dance. I think having them write about themselves with a prompt helps with assessing their writing and finding things out about them that otherwise you may not have found out. I will use this in my teaching to find out more about my students and find ways to incorporate their likes into my lessons.