Comprehensible Input, Spanish CI Readers, Spanish class, Thematic Units

Divide and Conquer: Digital Resources that Add Some Jazz to Class!

Well, we have two new resources in the Teaching Spanish Made Easy family! Check them out! And best of all, you can use for remote instruction or face to face!

I love writing and even more so short stories. These are my new ones out the gate. First up we have “Mi vida es un drama total.” I story I created for my students during remote learning to emphasize daily routine, but it morphed into something more! Here are the specs:

  • Level 2 E-book (20 pages)
    • Word versions of activities and story have been included to adapt to teachers’ needs!
  • 18 pages of activities
    • Comprehension questions
    • Vocabulary activities
    • Illustration activities
    • Discussion activities
  • Mostly present tense with a smattering of past tense. Footnotes are used for the past tense sections
  • Themes include:
    • Daily routine
    • Navigating romantic relationships
    • Being oneself
    • Family & school pressure
    • Honesty & truthfulness


Yolanda- Is an only child, and her parents love her dearly. So much, they want to control what she wears, what she eats, and the future she chooses for herself! To make matters worse, her father works at her school and is constantly adding pressure to her life to succeed. She cannot escape his notice, he is hasta por la sopa! Lucas, her best friend, is rooting for her. He’s in her corner, trying to to be the truth whisperer and guide Yolanda in the right direction… which is not back into the arms of her narcissist boyfriend: Jaime. The tension thickens between Yolanda and her father; Lucas and her father; Yolanda and her ex; and Lucas and her ex! She wants to strike out on her own, be her own person, and be free of it all. Will she confront the controlling people in her life or simply play back up to their dreams for her?

El horario de Mónica

El horario de Mónica

Spanish level 1: Novice-Mid/High

Language: Mostly present -tense verbs (pueden, estudia, mira)

The answer key is included!

Totally E-learning adaptable

Mónica is excited about school because her school allowed students to have input in the new schedule. As a result, she has meditation, computer programing, Mexican Cinema, and Genius Hour. Mónica discusses her schedule, and her newfound interest: learning about the culture and contributions of Afromexicanos.

The benefit to your students: Comprehensibility & Culture

Your students will get to review important vocabulary related to school in a new exciting way. They will how students in Mónica school benefit from meditation and how they can actively pursue their own learning through projects such as Genius Hour. Students will also learn about an important Afromexican figure, her ambition, and drive to succeed in life; all in a comprehensible manner!

Resources included:

1. Short reading about Mónica’s schedule with new vocabulary headlining the activity. Unfamiliar words to Novice-mid students have been footnoted.

2. A colorful version of Mónica’s schedule: students can practice days of the week and times.

3. Comprehensible questions regarding Mónica’s schedule. Students will pick up some incidental vocabulary as well!

4. Comprehension questions about Mónica’s schedule

5. One and a half page mini-biography of a famous Afromexican

6. True/false questions regarding the mini-biography

7. Compare and contrast with your schedule/ school situation

Digital learning adaptable

The Word version for the activity is also included so teachers can post on their desired learning platform.

The resources above are just the tip of the iceberg! There is more to see and read in this literary sea of opportunities.

Stories by topic

Stories about resilience, values, and acceptance

Eres perfecto
Eres perfecto. This is a short story about a girl looking for love, but she has what she perceives as a physical defect. She meets a guy online and learns how to overcome her insecurity. In the story, we chose to list a very uncommon characteristic/perceived “defect” so that students would not feel uncomfortable. The story is written in the present tense with many of the same personality traits and physical traits are interwoven throughout in addition to cognates and some common verbs such as busca, mira, quiere, voy, ir. Unfamiliar vocabulary is footnoted. This story features pre and post-reading material (4 activities)

En la papelería

A short story about two- Colombian boy-crazed teens who go shopping for school supplies at a local papelería (the infographic of the Papelería and sales is included). While they discuss common topics about school, boys, and ditching class (Raquel), they stumble upon an all too common situation in the local store. They’ll have the chance to look beyond their privilege and “pay it forward.” This opportunity makes them think more about their good fortune and future decisions.


«Gracias» is a short, yet heartwarming story about a young boy whose Venezuelan family has to immigrate to Colombia. It’s his first day of school, and he feels a little bit out to place. He initially happy to be in school and have some sense of normalcy, but is now rethinking the school experience. When the teacher moves close to his desk, to ask about his school supplies, Sam is petrified. The teacher notices, and does something incredible. In the end, Sam feels that he belongs.

EnRedados: Stories about Social Media

Caray, mi abuela tiene un móvil inteligente
Short story for Spanish 2 and beyond! This story can be easily adapted to online class learning as activities are included (vocabulary, and comprehension questions for each chapter). The story has been recently updated with color images. Click here to access bundle for more engaging stories.

Synopsis: Sara enjoys hanging out with her crazy “Primos” and “Tíos” at their weekly “Reunión” at “La casa de la abuela.” From listening to her crazy aunt’s tales about the adventures of internet dating to her grandmother’s funny jokes (comprehensible & appropriate), she wouldn’t want to be anywhere else on Sunday. However, this Sunday is super special because it is her grandmother’s birthday, and Sara has just made her day by buying her a smartphone. While Sara teaches her “abuelita” how to use the smartphone, her grandmother discovers some “creative uses” for her new smartphone. Abuela Irma realizes even at 75 years old, her best years are ahead of her!

La cita inolvidable

La cita inolvidable is a short story with many laughable twists! Luis has just recovered from an almost deadly relationship and is desiring to move forward. Frustrated with this dating luck, his friends suggest he starts looking for love online. He’s not excited about the idea, but his traditional way of finding a suitable companion has exactly churned out results. Conflicted, he decides to give it a try; and he immediately becomes entangled in a web of craziness! Will he regret dating online, or embrace the adventure? Find out why this story is titled, “La cita inolvidable.”

No pasa nada

No pasa nada

Manuela, a selfie-crazed teen, is madly in love with her boyfriend. She has finally found someone who her parents approve of, and that’s hard if you know anything about her parents. However, one day, her boyfriend makes a seemingly innocent request. She’s a bit surprised because his request conjures up a lot of feelings; it also goes against everything she was taught. She begins to wrestle with self-image, wanting approval, and making the right decisions. Can teenagers withstand peer pressure? Do they always cave in? Who decides what is right and wrong? These questions guide and frame a decision that could have major consequences. She has five minutes to decide, should she follow her heart, or should she follow her brain?

La obsesión digital

La obsesión digital will have something for everyone! Nuria and her family are utterly dependent on technology. Her parents, once a tranquil and loving couple, struggle to balance the demands of their jobs while spending valuable time with their kids. The effects are obvious: Nuria’s brother is far deep into the world of virtual technology, and Nuria is addicted to social media.

However, when her grandma’s comes to visit, the family experiences an expected shake up; and their secrets are slowly revealed. Grandma has a plan for the family (plus, they cannot resist her cooking). Before they “accept” the terms and conditions of this new approach to life, they will have to “unplug” from their social media, put their devices in “airplane” mode, while pushing past their addictions to be a family. Can they do it? Can you?

Family Life & Daily Routine

Los adolescentes de hoy en día

When Myra’s dad gets stuck in South America on a business trip, she has to pick up a little more slack at home; and she is not happy about the new reality. Her mother is doing the best she can to keep the family afloat, working from home, managing a career and three kids as a temporary single mother, and Myra is not being cooperative at all. She is more focused on her dreams, desires, and dates. Tensions rise, and all the cards are put on the table. Myra has a big decision to make. Should she put life on hold to help her family, or should she sacrifice their needs, to fulfills hers?

Mi vida es un drama total

Yolanda- Is an only child, and her parents love her dearly. So much, they want to control what she wears, what’s she eats, and the future she chooses for herself! To make matters worse, her father works at her school and is constantly adding pressure to her life to succeed. She cannot escape his notice, he is hasta por la sopa! Lucas, her best friend, is rooting for her. He’s in her corner, trying to to be the truth whisperer and guide Yolanda in the right direction… which is not back into the arms of her narcissist boyfriend. The tension thickens between Yolanda and her father; Lucas and her father; Yolanda and her ex; and Lucas and her ex! She wants to strike out on her own, be her own person, and be free of it all. Will she confront the controlling people in her life or simply play back up to their dreams for her?

La fiesta

Romeo is having trouble picking out something to wear for a school party. His “scheming” sister offers to help so that she could further her own agenda. Will her plan help Romeo or ultimately backfire? Find out in “La fiesta.”


La policía ejemplar

Marcela and Rhonda are hardworking policewomen in Buenos Aires, Argentina. As they take notice of the lively nocturnal scene, they count their blessings that their shift is almost over. But, it isn’t. The police dispatch gives them their last assignment…and it changes one of their lives forever (Happy ending).

This story is written mostly in the past tense. Unfamiliar words are bolded. The story incorporates cultural references from Argentina such as Bombonera Stadium, La Boca Neighborhood, Immigration, and Night Life (nothing inappropriate).

La pesadilla (coming soon!)

Me gusta tu ropa

Looking for a fun way to review clothing, personality traits, school vocabulary, and present tense structures? Me gusta tu ropa is the perfect option! This short and thrilling new story features a bevy of present tense verbs such as gusta, tiene, son, es, prefiere, puede, quiere, dice, embedded in a context of cognates and/or common vocabulary to facilitate comprehension.


Everyone thinks that Clara is Rebeca, and this is by design! Clara is obsessed with Rebeca’s clothing, her hairstyle… even her boyfriend. She has all the teachers fooled, even the principal, who doesn’t wear his glasses in an attempt to look younger. However, the obsession deepens as Clara takes her “imitation game” to new heights. Clara tries to fool Rebeca’s boyfriend… this scandal is only the tip of the iceberg. Your students will love this story and the drama!

Afro-Latina Pioneering Woman

Vanessa Mendoza

Whether you are looking for an activity for Black History month, or want your students to know about the lives of Afro-Hispanic people, start with Vanessa Mendoza! She was Colombia’s first Beauty Queen of African descent, and it’s perfect for Spanish 1!

Alejandra Robles

Berta Vázquez

Invite more Afro-Spanish representation in your curriculum with this elaborate introduction to Berta Vásquez. Students will immediately widen their perspective and learn about his trailblazing woman who continues to break barriers. Best of all, this is digitally compliant! Both PDFs and Word copies have been included to make your life easier!

Looking for more FVR novels for your class? I have teamed up with Fluency Matters and my novels, featured below is part of their E-learning platform!

Instagram: a.c. quintero 

Twitter: @klasekastellano 

Facebook/TPT: Teaching Spanish Made Easy 


Novels and Resources by A.C. Quintero 

Youtube channel

 Catalog: unlocking potential, one story at a time 

Comprehensible Input, Spanish CI Readers, Spanish class

Miguel tiene que estudiar: The Perfect Digital Resource For Spanish 1!

I discovered the story, “Miguel tiene que estudiar” (available on TPT) last year with my Spanish 1 students. They absolutely loved it. The raved about it for ever! As I read each slide to them, each fragment of the story was met with visceral reactions as this the main character prioritizes playing games over learning. Then, he disrespected his teacher, which garnered stares (some high-fives) because they know they could not talk like that to me! The story is cute, compelling and comprehensible, but most important it is relatable: a kid who does not like to study but rather play games. What a concept!

Click here for more resources by Spanish Plans!

For context, I have Spanish I class three classes a week for 48 minutes (Spanish IV on the other days).

This year, since we have been online, I decided to reinstitute the story. I worried about reading it online because with the mute function, I would hear the spectrum of their reaction. But as always, I had a plan for that too! I ended up making this story into the week’s lesson, here is how I used it and it went beautifully. This resource was easily adapted to the online platform. Here is what I approached it:

This was a fun activity! You can get this story on It is by Spanishplans.

Other stories on the topic of school

  1. Picture talk- this is a CI staple in the classroom and is just as versatile online.
    • For every mini-activity (such as picture talk), I assign questions. I normally single out 3-5 students (beforehand). I let them know that they are going to respond to the following questions about the picture projected on the screen:
    • ¿Cómo se llama el estudiante?
    • ¿Dónde está?
    • ¿Qué tiene que hacer el estudiante?
    • ¿Cuál es el conflicto?
    • ¿Qué juego le gusta jugar?
    • ¿Qué juego te gusta jugar?
    • ¿Lo juegas todos los días?
    • ¿Qué es más importante, jugar o estudiar?
    • ¿Cuántas horas al día se debe jugar los videojuegos?
  2. I read the first 4 slides of the story and asked students questions. They then had to read the rest of the story and respond to these comprehension questions first. The next day, we did the Conversation Circle. I wanted them to understand the story and feel confident in responding, which is why I gave them the comprehension questions first.
  3. The next class, we had conversation circle: I asked students these questions for the Conversation Circle. It went pretty smooth.
  4. Comparison: Miguel y yo (this activity was the last question on the comprehension questions). Students compared themselves with Miguel. No surprise here, they all prefer playing video games to studying!

I love using resources from Spanish Plans. You can check out their store of compelling imput here! or Spanish Plans Resources on TPT

Other short stories exploring school topics can found below:

Dreaming In Spanish Bundles

Mi colegio ideal

¿Quién es la chica nueva en la escuela (dialogue with pictures)?

En la papelería


El bolígrafo

En la cafetería

La nueva estudiante

Spanish CI Readers, Spanish class


Over the past couple of years independent reading in the world language classroom, or Free Voluntary Reading (FVR), Free Choice Reading (FCR), Sustained Silent Reading (SSR), has become more prevalent as more teachers tap into the power of reading, and witness the fruitful results. Years ago, I learned the importance of Free Voluntary Reading from Mike Peto on his blog, My Generation of Polyglots. Mike made a compelling case for reading, in addition to providing teachers with tried-and-tested ideas and scaffolds. Likewise, Justin from Spanish plans is also a huge proponent of this acquisition-friendly practice. In addition to his stories that highlight targeted vocabulary, he has developed many strategies that keep his students focused. Justin has also influenced me a great deal in bringing FVR to my level 1 students in the first semester. I am so glad I followed his advice, and the fruits of his mentorship can be gleaned in this present post. You can listen to my interview about Free Voluntary Reading & Beyond on Inspired Proficiency Podcast by Ashley Uyaguari (Click here to listen to interview ).

Before we delve into Free Voluntary Reading activities that can GALVANIZE  your class, I’d like to share the incredibly valuable benefits that this practice has afforded by students:  

Differentiation & Personalized Learning

1. Free Voluntary Reading is both differentiated and personalized learning. Students get to choose books whose covers, topics, and/ or storylines interest them. They are also encouraged to choose books that are at their level, which is a segue to my next point: FVR is a confidence booster.

Confidence Booster

2. Reading time has been a huge confidence builder for my students. Most of my students who had been walking around with the “I am bad at Spanish” luggage, suddenly found a place in class. I saw their writing grow at the same rate as their confidence, and they really enjoyed the class.

Cultural Learning

3. Free Voluntary Reading also affords students to learn about different places, cultures, and the hardships of the people without direct instruction. My students learned about the effects of the hurricane María, from “La madre perfecta” by Rachel Emery. They learned about “La isla peligrosa” in Uruguay by John Sifert. They traveled to Argentina, and peered into the past with “Secretos” by Jennifer Degenhardt, while also learning about the plight of Transgender teens. They gained insights about aspects of Colombia culture & teen-friendly themes about relationships in “Papacito” by Craig Klein from and “Cómo salir de la zona de amigos” by A.C. Quintero.

Free Voluntary Reading Social: Making Reading Enjoyable  

This year when I introduced Free Voluntary Reading into my level 1 class, I was reluctant to do so for the following reasons:

  • Had we done enough reading for them to be able to handle a novel? We had not read our first novel, which is usually, La clase de confesiones that ties into our School & Relationships unit, then followed by Agentes secretos, a book about Pablo Picasso’s masterpiece: Guernica. I felt that students needed to read both novels as a class first prior to “reading on their own.” Justin from  was quick to point out my “logical fallacy.” He demanded I do it and do it fast. So I obliged.

How I Got Started

I ordered books from both established companies such as Fluency Matters, Teacher’s Discovery as well as really compelling reads by Indie Authors. Click here to see the list of compelling Indie books.

Once I got my library going for my level 1 students, we dove right into FVR! If you don’t have the budget to get novels, consider getting short stories from a variety of sources online. Many teachers have really affordable stories (self-included) in their TPT stores. I have included some of those links below:


Stories by A.C. Quintero

Señorita Ashley

First Time FVR-ing in level 1

Since my library is color-coded. I grabbed all the yellow-dotted books, that were conducive to level 1 in my class.  I allowed students to browse the collection. Afterward,  I did the following:  

Students browsing the books
  • Explained to them that we were going to be reading their chosen book during our “sesíon literaria.”
  • I read the first two pages to them and then proceeded to ask questions. Since I had a lot of copies of “Brandon Brown Quiere Un Perro” by Carol Gabb, to give them an instant confidence boost (they understood everything). See Video below:
  • I had them read in pairs; both students choose the same books and sat down to read.

How did they read in pairs?

I tried to give students space and different options. I also wanted to make sure that the reading was not stale, and that they had a chance to really talk about what they had read. We read for a total of 30 minutes (we have 90 block-periods, and I interspersed this time with activities).

Activities while reading:

1. Take turns reading aloud to your partner.  

2. The partner then summarizes in English what was read (thy implemented this comprehension-checking strategy one paragraph at a time). MY NEWEST STRATEGY IS HAVING THEM SHARE OUT IN CLASS. IT IS PRETTY SIMPLE. THEY READ FOR 6-8 MINUTES, THEN SHARE SOMETHING THAT HAPPENED IN THE STORY. MY RUBRIC IS A NO-BRAINER:

0- points for not sharing (students get multiple opportunities during class to share. They don’t have to share only during FVR)

1- point for sharing verbatim from the book

2- points for summarizing what you’ve read.

The sharing can be as simple as “Camden está en un avión y hay una explosión” – La isla más peligrosa by John Sifert.

4. Read for 10 additional minutes, and then tell the class about what you read (this was a whole class book talk).

During this time, I walked around the class and heard students making comments about the books:

“ I feel so smart, can’t believe I am reading in Spanish”

“I can literally understand everything”

“This book is crazy, they’re stuck on an island!”

After reading, we huddled up in a circle, and each person shared something from their book. I knew that the next time we did FVR, I wanted to ask students to share more, however, this first go was an exercise in getting their feet wet. When sharing as a class, I did notice that students were using new words they had just encountered in the book. One student talking about his book had told the class that “El padre muere.” I inquired further but did not think he was going to tell me the cause of death in Spanish, but he responded to my question saying, “El padre se muere de diabetes.” Another student commenting on a character in her book said: “Ella no tiene mucho dinero y no puede comer chocolate”, etc. I felt like my first FVR in level 1 was a resounding success!

Second Time Is A Charm!

The second time we did FVR, I taught them literary elements so they could talk about the characters, places, and general conflict/problem in the story. I have them do the same time as before:

  • They had 10 minutes to read, and then they did “read & discuss.”
  • The second 10 minutes they read and jotted down information to be shared in literature groups.

Literature Groups

Students could be in groups of no more than 4 people. Each person had to share about their book:

  • El personaje más importante es…
  • el problema es…)
  • El lugar de la acción
  • El personaje secundario

We had actually practiced with our class novel, “El Jersey.” Check out the demo above. In the second part of the video, you will see the students actually asking each other questions.

After literature circles, we reconvene as a group, and students share out as a class.

Assessment ideas

Discussing books read for FVR could totally be a valid speaking assessment! However, I would not assess students the first few times, as they are getting to know the characters, and getting comfortable with the books. Once students have finished their novels, the teacher may wish to do a Conversation Circle, similar to the one we did in Spanish IV below. Or, this could be a time to read and talk. You decide! Now, let’s take a look at how my FVR looked this year in my upper-level courses!

A Unit Around Reading

Last year, was my first time implementing FVR in my Spanish IV classrooms. Because the class was small and very close-knit, I knew that I had to add some social components to the reading (this is where I got the idea for level 1). So, I broke up the reading into 4 segments: 

  1. Choose a book- this was a very social time. They’d compare books and acted almost like an outlet for the more fidgety students.
  2. Sit in the hallway and read the book for 10 minutes- this was like going on a field trip. We have desks –parlimentary seating in our wing of the building so– so it was nice to change the scenery a bit.
  3. Talk to a partner about the book
  4. Read for 10-15 minutes/ share a passage from the book with another student.

I took a different path for my upper-level students with regards to FVR. Their language skills are more developed, they are more mature, and the discussion and writing are much deeper at the upper-level. I decided to make reading a book for FVR into a unit. In a nutshell, students chose a book, and they read it over 4-6 classes. I interspersed the readings with mini-discussions on the books (see packet questions), pop-up grammar lessons (imperfect subjunctive- connected to one of their questions). During each reading session, they respond to one of the questions.

My goals for implementing this unit were:

  • Introduce students to literature that was comprehensible and at their level
  • Develop a consistent habit of reading
  • Encourage students to use more complex structures of the target language
  • Be introduced to a variety of culture/teen perspectives
  • Discuss stories using proper literary elements

This unit would be a precursor to our next few units as they delve into our upcoming film unit.

Here is how I planned the unit:

  • I pre-determined the vocabulary words they’d need in order to discuss books/movies (plot, characters, twists, types of conflicts, etc).
  • These words were taught both explicitly & implicitly as most of them are cognates.
  • I provided them with a Quizlet list of the vocabulary words in Spanish and English. You can click on the list here: Quizlet vocabulary
  • I created this detailed reading log that was integrated into all further lessons. The reading log has six sections. Each section corresponded to an aspect of the book, each built on each other in terms of complexity. Click here for the Word Version
  • I choose an interesting book to read to the class to kick off our session, and then read that one chapter as the opening act. Last year it was, “Superburguesas” by Mike Peto, and they loved it. This year, I read “El armario” by A.C. Quintero, mainly because the sequel, “Las sombras,” was on the horizon and we’d go right into that! See sample schedule below: 

Day 1: Pick Out Your Book 

  • Read the chosen book to students. I have them listen and then summarize what they heard at the end with a partner. 
  • Allow time book browse. I placed books on my whiteboard ledge and new book rack. I gave them 10 minutes to look around, find a book, and then sit down with their packets. 
  • Write the title of the book and author. 
  • The first activity on the packet is to discuss the front cover of the book. The wrote why the choose the book, what caught their attention 
  • Optional: Students can share with others why they choose to book and make predictions
  • Read the first chapter of the book.

Day 2: Associating Literary Vocabulary 

  • Review Quizlet set for 15 minutes 
  • Mi Media Naranja Activity (doc will be linked). This is a vocabulary activity that I developed to help students think about the words, collaborate on co-constructing a definition, and matching words. 
  • Read for approximately 15-20 minutes 
  • Complete the first question on the reading log (Describe the first few scenes of the book/exposition)

Day 3: Read, Draw & Discuss 

  • Campanada: Choose one character from your book and discuss with a partner. 
  • Read for 15-20 minutes 
  • Draw what happens in the first few scenes of the book
  • Share in groups of 4 
  • Conversation Circle: Questions about setting & characters (emergent personality traits). 

Day 4: Reading & Chat Stations 

  • Station 1: Read through the uses of the past subjunctive (presentation online), and take notes. Complete “Subjunctive” activity sheet as for practice. Click here for the teacher’s author’s resources from TPT:
  • Station 2: Read selected novels for 10 minutes, responding to any pertinent questions
  • Stations 3: Work on “Imperfect Subjunctive Forms”: Click here for the Teacher author’s resource:
  • Station 4:  Unit vocabulary- a matching game
  • Station 5: Read book for 5 minutes, share for five minutes in a group
  • Station 6: Aunque Tu no Sepas

Day 5: Character Analysis 

  • Read for 20-25 minutes and write about the point of view, narrative style, main characters (dynamic/flat), and how they propel the narrative forward. 
  • Exit slip: Describe your character, and what hurdles they have to overcome. 
  • Internado 

Day 6: Developing A Creative Hook For Writing 

  • Read & finish the packet. Respond to questions about the conclusion and what you would have done if presented with the same situation as your characters. 
  • Class lesson: How to develop a creative hook. 
  • Write hooks, share with classmates. Think about: How can I make this more engaging? 
  • Mock conversation circle

Day 7: Book Report: I did not allow students to use notes.

Day 8: Conversation Circle (summative assessment)

  • Talk about your book

Day 9: Listening Audio (audio) & Listening activity 

 Check out the new novels for Spanish class!

Click here:

TPT Store!

Click here:

Comprehensible Input, Spanish CI Readers

Flipping The Script: CI Novels in French and Spanish by Author Terri Marrama

I had the privilege of speaking to yet another CI author, who is flipping the script in Spanish and in French! Theresa Marrama is a French CI teacher, who has been working with authors such as Jennifer Degenhardt and A.C. Quintero on adapting their books from Spanish to French. What I did not know, is that Terri had some compelling stories herself! She debuted her first novel last year, Une obsession dangereuse, available at Her debut novel was the first, but not the last we’ve heard from her. Her quill has not gone dry; this year has seen a record number of books from Terri in both Spanish, and French. And, watch out German teachers, she is also coming for your classroom library as well! Check out her author’s page here, to see for yourself.

Who is Theresa Marrama?

Theresa Marrama is a dynamic French teacher who has been in the trenches for more than 11 years. She has been holding down the fort, teaching French in Northern New York. Her students span from levels 1 to 4, from grades 7 to 11. Three years ago, Terri took another bold step in her teaching career (teaching is the first!), she joined the Comprehensible Input (CI) corps of teachers; she’s a been a fierce advocate of the approach. This year, she went from practitioner to literary contributor, as you will see as your read on!

Reading As The Cornerstone

Like most CI teachers, her favorite teacher-input activities are movie talk and picture talk, however, the cornerstone of her curriculum is reading. She places great emphasis on reading with her classes and allowing time for students to soak up this practice and regularly explore her Free Voluntary Reading Library (FVR). Well, now we have the opportunity to have her books in our library as well!

What Is FVR?

Note: FVR , for those of your hearing this term for the first time, a classroom library comprised of chapters books that are written at the students’ level. These book present a host of topics, and storylines yet told with very limited unique vocabulary that allows for reading comprehension, a low cognitive load, and can greatly facilitate language acquisition. You can visit Mike Peto’s blogs for more information FVR. He also wrote a book on Pleasure Reading! You can see a picture of my FVR library below if you are unfamiliar with this concept. Also, check out the twitter accounts of teachers such as @lovemysummers, @karajacobs, @janina_hanson to see how they structure their classroom libraries.


Theresa started writing CI novels about three years ago. She had begun to use more comprehension- based readers in her classes, and immediately witnessed the impact they had on her students’ language acquisition. She wanted to contribute more readers to her own classroom library, as there were not as many readers in French. So, she picked up a pen. Theresa confessed that she loves writing about mysteries, culture, and heartfelt stories that everyone can relate to ( we definitely have that in common! I am a mystery girl myself)! Because of Theresa’s penchant to flip the script and contribute to the growing body of comprehensible literature, we can now line our libraries with new, compelling mysteries, in French, Spanish, and German. Let’s take a look at what Theresa has to offer, and why YOU DON’T WANT YOUR KIDS TO MISS OUT!

Theresa has authored the following books:
Une obsession dangereuse – Françoise’s obsession with alligators is a bit concerning, but when she plans a face-to-face encounter, it becomes downright dangerous. As she and her friend Monique secretly venture out into the bayou for an alligator encounter, they discover that both alligators and the bayou are much safer when viewed on TV ! Françoise finds herself in a life-or-death situation, and her only hope for survival rests on the wits of a 13- year-old girl.  

Une obsession dangereuse is available on Fluency Matters website.

Une disparition mystèrieuse – It has been a week since Alice’s best friend Dominique disappeared. Since that day, Alice’s world has turned upside down, and her life has begun to spiral out of control. Will Alice see her best friend again? Did Alice pay enough attention to the details leading up to her friend’s disappearance? Will an old Louisiana legend come to life? Will she discover a far greater mystery that has haunted the marshes of Louisiana for years?  



***Also available in Spanish*** 
Una desaparición misteriosa-It has been a week since Ana’s best friend Daniela disappeared. Since that day, Ana’s world has turned upside down, and her life has begun to spiral out of control. Will Ana see her best friend again? Did Ana pay enough attention to the details leading up to her friend’s disappearance? Will an old Peruvian legend come to life? Will she discover a far greater mystery that has haunted the children of Peru for years?  

Review of the book:


L’île au trésor: Première partie: La malédiction de l’île Oak –

Daniel is a typical teenager who just wants to spend his summer vacation with his friends. Unfortunately, he must spend another summer in Canada, where his father works. Will his summer be as boring as the last, or will he manage to make the most of it in the absence of his friends? Will he find adventure and excitement in the long days ahead?  

Review of Book :


La ofrenda de Sofía-It has been nearly a year since her grandfather has passed away. Sofía is not coping very well with his death or her recent move to Mexico. The Day of the Dead celebration is approaching and Sofía’s mom is persistent in her efforts to get her to participate. Will Sofía learn things about her grandfather that she didn’t know? Will she learn the true meaning of the Day of the Dead celebration?  

Review of book:It’s full of suspense and heart.
Ooooh!  It’s a page turner!!  Pick it up for your classroom libraries!!

Léo et Anton –  


Anton is different – a mouse that isn’t afraid of cats who lives in the Parc du Bois-Beckett forest in Quebec, Canada with his mom and dad. But, Anton is not happy. He doesn’t have any friends, and he is not allowed to explore the forest alone as his father fears he will get attacked by a cat.  Will Anton venture alone into the forest against his father’s will?  Will Anton ever be able to make any friends? Will Anton’s courage get him into trouble? Sometimes it is our differences that not only set us apart from others but make us exactly the same.

Luis y Antonio –  


Antonio is different – a mouse that isn’t afraid of cats who lives in the Arrayes forest in Argentina with his mom and dad. But, Antonio is not happy. He doesn’t have any friends, and he is not allowed to explore the forest alone as his father fears he will get attacked by a cat.  Will Antonio venture alone into the forest against his father’s will?  Will Antonio ever be able to make any friends? Will Antonio’s courage get him into trouble? Sometimes it is our differences that not only set us apart from others but make us exactly the same.  

Review of the book:


This story (Léo et Anton) will soon be available in German as well. 
Theresa has 2 more stories in the works! Please stay tuned 🙂 
You can find all of her books and audio book CD’s for her books at her website :

Theresa Marrama’s book are becoming a staple for teachers looking for compelling comprehensible literature. I have several of her books, and will be adding more to my classroom library. If you want to find out more about Theresa, check out her website and her Amazon’s author’s page.

The Compelling Language Corner

Theresa Marrama Author’s Page

Comprehensible Input, Spanish CI Readers, Spanish class

Caras Vemos, Corazones No Sabemos: A New and Compelling Novel From The Creative Mind of Theresa Jensen

The world of reading in the target language just got bigger, adding more intriguing layers with the new novel, Caras Vemos, from Theresa Jensen. Over the summer, we saw a record number of teachers, picking up the pen with the goal of enriching our literary experiences, and upping the acquisition factor. Some of the books featured this summer were La última prueba by Jennifer Degenhardt, La ofrenda de Sofía by Theresa Marrama, Alice, La liste by Cecile Laine, and El mensaje by A.C. Quintero. Jensen added to this working body of student-friendly literature with the highly anticipated, Caras vemos (corazones no sabemos). In this post, you will get to know Theresa, what compels her to write, and why you should get her new book! Best of all, she has just published a teacher’s manual, so if you are thinking about this book for a classroom novel, go for it! She’s got you covered!

This summer, I had the opportunity to speak withTheresa, and I learned that she is very letrada! She has been teaching for a total of 20 years! She currently teaches Spanish level 3. Her knowledge of curriculum spans the gamut, as she teaches in both the AP and IB programs. Adding to the mix of thematic and skill-based learning, she is celebrating her 10th year as a TPRS practitioner. The these experiences have enriched her grasp on language acquisition, and guided her on her first CI reader: Caras Vemos. See the transcript of our conversation below:

A.C: What is your favorite aspect of teaching with CI/TPRS? What changes have you seen when you started experimenting with this approach?

TJ: My relationship with my students is different than it ever has been, as the focus is on them. I feel like before I was more of a taskmaster, more focused on the curriculum. Now I am 100% about helping each individual student achieve his/her potential. I always wanted that, but the different methods brought about by CI-based instruction have helped me connect more with students and reach even my less invested students. My absolute favorite part about CI is the sheer JOY it brings to my classroom.

A.C: Do you have a favorite CI/TPRS resource?

TJ: Currently Señor Wooly is just about my favorite discovery.

A.C. Free Voluntary Reading has really taken off these last few years. I remember learning about it from Mike Peto, and although I was an author, at that point, I had only read some novels, both mine and others with my students and some short stories. I had not started with FVR reading. Once I did, I was amazed! What role has FVR reading have in your curriculum?

TJ: Last year I began a FVR program with my students. I was very concerned they would just pretend to read, but the research was so convincing, I had to try. I did everything I could to fund it. I wrote little books, printed free books online, and bought them with my own money. We did it once a week, and at first it was a little tough for some of my students. They had never read by themselves before. As the year went on, through observation and Google form surveys, I saw that their interest and confidence increased. They were so proud they were reading books all by themselves! They actually looked forward to reading! Then, I brought up the idea for Sociedad Honoraria Hispánica, which I sponsor, to provide a mobile FVR library for our department (9 Spanish teachers). From the start, my colleagues began doing FVR with their classes for the first time, and their students loved it! The library is continually growing, and this year I have a mini library so we can do FVR more than once a week! It has been transformative!

A.C: That is so exciting!!!! Speaking of FVR, let’s talk about your new book, which I love by the way! I actually studied in Cuernavaca, and found the city and people to be very inviting. I love the compelling storyline, and the way the culture has been interwoven throughout the book. The artwork is so supportive of the story, which I love.

TJ: The title is “Caras vemos,” which is short for “Caras vemos, pero corazones no sabemos (or “faces we see, but hearts we don’t know)” explores the idea is that people are sometimes just not as they seem.

Synopsis: A girl wakes up in a park beaten and disoriented with no memory of who or where she is. Every face is unfamiliar, and all have a different story to tell. Who is the mysterious man? What happened to him? The more she learns, the less she knows what to believe or who to trust. The novel is set in beautiful Cuernavaca, known as the “city of eternal spring.” Cuernavaca is the capital of the state of Morelos, Mexico, just south of Mexico City. All of the places and businesses in this book are real. Experience everyday Mexican culture as the search for truth leads you around the city. Join her in a harrowing adventure to discover the secret of her past, and learn the meaning of “caras vemos, pero corazones no sabemos.” 

A.C: That is intense! Love it! For those teachers who will consider this amazing story as a class novel, what details could you give us to help them decide?

TJ:  This book is intended for novice high to Intermediate level Spanish students, so level 2-3. Word count is just under 8,000. There is a comprehensive glossary, as well as some small culture lessons, both integrated and in boxes on the side, throughout. Teachers can get the book in paperback on on kindle!

Get this amazing book on Amazon

Get the kindle version here

A.C: Why Cuernavaca?

TJ: I have a very strong connection with Cuernavaca, Mexico, the setting of the story. I have been to all the places in the story multiple times and am in love with the city. I have been happy, stressed, sad, annoyed, lost, scared, excited, enamored, in wonder, and I believe the characters experience all of these emotions too! 

A.C: I have to ask, what motivated you to start writing?

TJ: I’ve always written stories for my students, but never thought about publishing before. Inspiration just struck the end of June! A while back, I began learning Italian off and on just in free time, and after a year of reading when my students did FVR, I thought hmmmm I should practice what I preach! I then bought my first intermediate novel in Italian, “Il segretto di Julia.” I began reading and liked how mysterious it was. It was a first person perspective and only told you enough to intrigue you, but not enough to really know what was going on. I only read one chapter before I put it down to flesh out an idea I had for my own story. I later read the rest of it and I highly recommend it! My book is actually nothing like it, but it inspired a book I am very proud of! Two of my students contacted me about something else and I said hey, want to read a book I wrote? They did and loved it! my favorite message that one (Grant) sent was this:

Shook” lol! I love it! He also wrote the following:

A.C: I love to get messages like this! They really affirm what we’re doing as teachers and writers.

Teachers, thank your for checking out this post and reading about Caras vemos, the debut title from Theresa Jensen. Please check out this book, and don’t just take my word for it, look at the reviews! Also, Theresa’s daughter designed the cover and interior art. I don’t know about you guys, but I can’t wait for another book by Theresa.


If you want to learn more about Free Voluntary Reading, check out these podcasts and websites below!

Stephen Krashen Free Voluntary Reading
Mike Peto My Generation of Polyglots

Pleasure Reading Ebook by Mike Peto

Señora B Free Voluntary Reading

Inspired Proficiency Podcast with A.C.Quintero

The Role of Reading in the World Language Classroom Podcast by Becky Morales

Back-to-school Language Activities, Comprehensible Input, Movie talks, Spanish CI Readers, Spanish class

Animated Book Trailer And Movie Talk For The Spanish Level 1 Novel: La clase de confesiones.

Confesionista: Anyone who uses the novels “La clase de confesiones” or “La bella mentira” in class!

Confesionistas, this animated book trailer/ Movie Talk has been in the works for a very long time, and I am so excited to be finally launching it! I actually started this project one year ago, and have been so busy with so many other worthy projects (such as publishing El mensaje, and working to teaching materials for Las apariencias engañan, El armario, Las sombras, etc), that I had to put this on the back burner! However, this summer, like many of you all, I was able to settle down, and bring this beautiful project to a close (well, open it for you!). This new resource can be used by ANYONE!. If you have been using La clase de confesiones series with your level 1 or two, this will be a perfect addition! If you are not familiar with the series, but are INTRIGADO BY the animated book trailer, you can use it as a Movie Talk as all the supporting materials are directly related to the video.

What is the animated book trailer about?

This animated book trailer is an introduction to the novel,”La clase de confesiones.” It sets up the major events, that are central to the storyline. For example, we see Carlos going to school, talking to señor Martín, not having his homework (too busying thinking about Jessica) and realizing that he is head over heels for Jessica (spoiler alert, if you haven’t read the book). The narration ( done by Diego Cuadro) is well-paced. Additionally, you gave access a plethora of activities to help bring this resource to life in your classroom. These resources will provide students ample practice with commonly used structures, school vocabulary, and clothing It is also wildly entertaining!.

OMG, I am starting La clase de confesiones tomorrow, how do I get this resource?

¡Tú tranquil@! There are two ways of accessing the video and all the accompanying materials.

1. If you have the teacher’s manual for “La clase de confesiones” you can just re-download (click here to access teaching material) the file from TPT or my website. The new materials have been added to that bundle.

2. If you don’t have the Teacher’s Manual, you can download the Bundle here.

3. The video is also free on Youtube!

How can this resource be used?

The animated book trailer/movie talk can be used as an introduction to the novel along with the following activities in the manual: Dos confesiones y una mentira, Confesiones. Teachers can use the new character descriptions activities post video as they will help to contextualize the characters a bit more. Or it can be used as a standalone activity. Let’s say that you haven’t even heard of this novel, but the video mola , well, you could simply use it in class as the materials are solely based on the video, and do not make a reference to the book. The 14 additional materials include another cute story about the main character.

Check it out!

Let’s Take A Look

There are 14 activities total. You can click here to read the list of descriptions and to download the preview for on TeachersPayTeachers. The activities range from circling questions, matching activities, pictures/descriptions activity and a new short story: La casa de confesiones. There is also an informational article about wearing uniformes in school in Latin America.

Are you new to the world of “Los confesionistas?” Check out the synopsis below!

Carlos hates Spanish class with a passion but finds the will to survive when he lays eyes on Jessica. She is the reason he “tolerates” his boring class. However, his secret crush is compromised when his teacher decides to “shake things up a bit” in class. A simple writing assignment turns out to be a lethal injection to his social life and by extension his chances with Jessica. First, his nosy teacher tries to “set him up with Jessica,” this plan immediately backfires. Then, the unthinkable happens and Carlos is stunned. This turns into one of the most embarrassing moments in his life. But all is not lost. If Carlos plays his cards right, he could have a winning hand. Carlos invites you to come along on this adventure into “La clase de confesiones” where…”todos tienen una confesión,” even the teacher!

La bella mentira (Yes, there is as sequel)

The second book in the series can be read as stand-alone…saving the best for last! Click here for preview.

Carlos is having a bad day, and it’s about to get worse. He leaves Spanish class utterly embarrassed.  He had no idea that the teacher was going to partner him up with Jessica, the girl he actually writes about in his class essay. Adding insult to injury, the teacher reads his essay in front of the class, even the mean-spirited things he wrote about his teacher. After running into a few more problems in math class, he is faced with the big showdown in the lunchroom. Now, Carlos is between *”la espada y la pared.” However, a short story in Spanish class may hold the key to all of his problems, and may ultimately lead to his biggest confession of all. Find out in part 2! 

Where can I get the book? Well, I’m glad you asked!

Novels and Resources by A.C. Quintero



Updates With Other Books and New Resources!

Comprehensible Input, Spanish CI Readers

El mensaje: New Reader for Level 2 Spanish Class

I am happy to announce the newest addition to the A.C. Quintero collection of novels: El mensaje. The novel delves into issues related to teen life, especially their obsession with their phones, and penchant to believe everything they see. This novel is perfect for FVR or a thematic unit with a relationship/technology focus. In addition to an engaging storyline, students can look forward to the following:

-Present tense with a spattering of past tense phrases (Novice High/Low Intermediate range)

-Spanish-speaking countries and capitals (relevant to the storyline)

– Vocabulary related to geography, technology, relationships & family

-A little bit of poetry from our overly dramatic protagonist

Synopsis (see preview below)

Adán’s life is turned upside down when he gets an unexpected and  heart-wrenching text message from a friend. It is a text about his beloved girlfriend, and it’s not pretty. At first, Adán does not think much of the text, as he knows students love to spread rumors and gossip. He would rather focus on his upcoming test on the capitals of Spanish-speaking countries than indulge in petty high school drama. But  as he considers the last few days talking to Fiona, a startling picture starts to emerge. Why has she been incredibly secretive and avoiding him like the plague? Adán tries to keep his cool. So, instead of going into full panic mode, he hatches a plan. He may be risking everything to uncover the truth, but he knows that the truth will set him free. Will it be worth it? 

Synopsis in Spanish!

Teaching Materials will be available late August. 

This book is available on:  

Click here to go to Amazon:

Click here for preview

Click here for preview

Novels and Resources by A.C. Quintero