I believe reading in the target language is crucial because it promotes fluent reading skills which then leads to fluency in the other language skills such as speaking and writing. Fluent reading means reading without a dictionary, which can be challenging if students read an authentic text or a book. Choosing a text which is not too easy neither too challenging is difficult but I have found that the Mary Glasgow magazines offer interesting articles which can be read a 3 different levels from beginner to advanced; the advanced level containing more details and complex structures. For example I found this “surprising” article about a television for dogs which is perfect for grade 8 (13-14 years old) topic about media.
When my students read an article, they should first read it in silence. If there is a recording of the text (which is the case for Mary Glasgow articles), they can follow the text as they listen to it. They then highlight what they understand. That way, they can notice at a glance that they actually understand quite a lot! They then choose another color to highlight the words or parts they really do not understand and they think they need in order to comprehend the article. They also highlight in another color the parts they don’t understand but they think they don’t need or they can guess. Students usually work in groups of 4 to discuss what they understood. They help each other out to comprehend the difficult parts and to make connections, i.e. is this word similar to an English/German word I know?. The use of dictionaries should come as a last resort.This part is done in English but I think it is important to check comprehension. At the end of this process, students can then move on to the comprehension questions followed by personal questions and discussion in Spanish!
You can download the article with the comprehension questions here: television para perros