Why Serie Leamos?
Serie Leamos is a free digital library of engaging stories written and illustrated by Georgia State students. The purpose of this library is to provide comprehensible and interesting reading material that allows language learners to practice pleasure reading from the beginning. Currently, the library is in Spanish and English, but we are working on replicating the stories in other languages.
Please read the following sections to learn about why Serie Leamos is a different library, its components, and why we should practice extensive and pleasure reading to learn a language. There are some tips for teachers and readers too!
I hope you and your students will enjoy these cute stories. Espero que las disfruten.
This project has been supported by the Center for Excellence in Teaching, Learning & Online Education (CETLO) at Georgia State University.
Victoria Rodrigo, Ph.D.
Serie Leamos founder and editor
Professor of Spanish Applied Linguistics
Department of World Languages and Cultures
Georgia State University, Atlanta
A Different Library for Language Learners
What makes Serie Leamos a different library is that writers, illustrators, and readers belong to a learning community. With students authoring and illustrating the Serie Leamos titles, readers will find stories more appealing and interesting.
Besides, this reading project serves three purposes: (1) it is a creative writing activity for authors, (2) it is reading material for readers, and (3) it is a real-world task for illustrators.
These are the main components of the library:
The titles have been created by my intermediate-advanced Spanish students who wrote original stories based on their personal experiences. The stories are appealing and cute for Lower level learners.
Students in our Art department provide the illustrations, which are key to getting readers engaged. The illustrations are not only beautiful, but they recreate the story through images helping readers understand better.
The readers relate to these simple but powerful stories. The writer-reader connection leads to a sense of community ownership promoting interest and motivation to read.
Serie Leamos allows free and easy access to a variety of interesting reading material with different topics and levels.
GSU student illustrators collaborating on Serie Leamos in class.
How to use the library
Readers are encouraged to explore the library at their own pace and read what they want to read. To ensure interest and comprehension, the library can be filtered by Level, Readership, and Subject.
The library has four levels that are determined on the basis of lexical and grammatical complexity, simplicity and length of the story, and how clearly the illustrations portray the writings. Some of the titles in the library are in more than one level, offering readers a simplified and more elaborated version of the original story.
Levels 1 & 2
These stories are good for beginning readers (first year of Spanish at the college level). They are short and easy to follow, with frequent vocabulary, short sentences, simple grammar, and the illustrations clearly convey the story. Level 1 is mainly in the present tense. Level 2 uses the past tense and the story may be a little more developed.
Levels 3 & 4
Stories in these Levels are a better fit for readers at an intermediate level (second year of Spanish at the college level). The stories are longer and more involved. The vocabulary may be less common, sentences are more complex, and there is no restriction on the verb tenses used.
Although the books look like children stories, their messages could be deep and suitable for an adult audience (select Young-Adult: > 18 years old). Some stories are appropriate and friendly for children too (select Children: 6-12 years old). The option All pulls all the titles together.
Each title has been tagged for the topics that are present in the story. Additionally, each story has a brief description of the topic they address.
Students should read stories that are interesting to them and at a level they can understand.
Since readers must select their own readings based on their own preferences, they need easy access to a large variety of titles to choose from. Serie Leamos fully ensures these conditions: a variety of titles (currently the library has about 75 titles, but each semester I will be adding new ones), four levels, and a variety of topics.
The versatility of the library makes it appropriate for
- College students
- Middle students
- Bilingual and Dual programs
- Heritage speakers
- Adult learners (immigrants or refugees)
- Parents to read to their kids
- Anybody who wants to learn/read Spanish
Benefits of Using Serie Leamos
This library has been piloted for one year with more than 1200 students in the Lower Division Spanish language program at Georgia State University (first two years of Spanish) and the results have been very positive. Readers have developed a positive attitude towards reading in Spanish as well as a sense of achievement and confidence about their reading skills. Serie Leamos, and the type of experience it provides, is a proper starting point and bridge towards graded readers and eventually to undertaking authentic texts successfully.
Students reported enjoyment, desire to read more, confidence in their language competence, and a sense of accomplishment for understanding a story in a second language.
Reading Support: Vocabulary
Each story includes a list of keywords that the student-writers have selected as important to understand their story plus a glossary of the verbs, substantives, adjectives, and adverbs of the story. The key vocabulary is bolded throughout the text for both ease of reference and better retention by the Reader.
Each title has a brief description of the story, a narrated version, and activities (comprehension, production, and vocabulary activities). The stories can be read online or can be downloaded to the Reader’s desktop or device.
Serie Leamos affords readers a sense of ‘Yes, I can do it! I can understand and I enjoy reading in Spanish’ leading to motivation to continue to read in their L2.