¡Pareja Mentirosa! - Easy and Exciting Reading Game

I thought it would be a great idea to hear from other Spanish teachers and the games they use in the classroom! This is one of the favorites from Ashley at SrtaSpanish. This game is extremely low prep and just want we teachers need sometimes to finish up class or working with a story. Check out the game that I now HAVE to try!

¡Pareja Mentirosa! Reading Game

This game is one of my favorite "games". I put quotes around it because it's really only a game because you can call it a game and you introduce it like a game. There's no points. There's no game pieces, game boards, or dice (even though dice can make anything fun).  It's really the best kind of game - the kind that takes zero prep, and just one thing to play. It's so simple, it really feels silly to write you a post to explain how it works, but I'll walk you through how I introduce it, then give you a few ideas for ways to scaffold it and change it up for your students!

Set Up:

This activity works best if you're doing using a reading or a story that your students are relatively familiar with, or at the very least, with structures and vocabulary the students are familiar with. You don't want to do this activity with lots of brand new material because it will will increase their processing time and make it very hard for them to participate. Students should either have a copy of the reading in front of them, or you should project it for them to be able to read and follow along.
Whenever we do this activity, I start by modeling it for them. The instructions I give are simply, “I am going to read. I am going to change some details. If you hear something different, yell, 'Liar!'.” We usually practice how to say liar a few times, and I encourage them to be louder than the usual classroom volume. Then I start reading the selection, slowly. I change simple things, like the name of the main character, or I'll add or remove a "No” in a sentence. Sometimes, I'll add a, "Very,” or switch up adjectives to be opposite. Start v e r y   s l o w l y, with simple details and simple changes to let them catch onto the game. As you go through, make sure you let them catch you in the lies and give them a smile or two as they correctly call you out on switches. Gradually get trickier with your details, and maybe throw in an exaggerated pause or two if they miss a particularly difficult "Lie". If it's a shorter reading, go through the whole thing like this, but if it's a longer selection, just go through enough until they get the hang of it!

Got It? Let's Go!

Once students have seen the modeled version, they're usually ready to try it on their own! I like to start off in pairs, and give them similar instructions to when I model. One partner is the "teacher” and reads the story, changing details. The other partner listens and calls out, "Liar!” if they hear their partner change something. I have them go through the entire reading, then switch jobs! They usually wind up giggling a lot, and before you know it, they're saying, "Hey, you missed one!” or, "No, it says 'blah blah’ not 'blah-di-blah'.” Aka, they're reading the text closely and paying attention to detail. But, it doesn't feel like they're just re-reading a selection again. They're playing!

Scaffolding and Support

This kind of on the go thinking and playing with the language can be really challenging for students. That’s part of why I recommend doing a reading or story that the students are familiar with. Some students need more support than just having a familiar text so you might consider doing something else to provide scaffolding for them.
The first option to provide scaffolding is to add a step in between modeling and the students playing. Project the reading, and underline words that they COULD change. Have them re-write the story, making changes wherever they feel like it, until they have something that is similar, but not the exact same as what they started with! Depending on your class, you may want to specify the number of details changed. Then, you just have them read what they wrote, while their partner looks at the original text and listens for the changes.
Some classes don't need the whole step of writing it out in between, but they might need a little bit of time to brainstorm ways to make easy switches. You can do a quick class discussion, asking them about what you did while you were modeling to make changes. You'll be surprised at how quickly they can pinpoint what you did, and then having that list of ideas will help them when they're on their own!
The simplest way to provide some support is to just circulate when your students are trying. Stop by and check in with a few pairs, asking them how it's going. Sometimes I'll tell students to just add "No” here and there for a simple change if they're getting stuck, and then they feel a bit more comfortable!

Switch It Up

Once your students have this down, there are a few easy tweaks you can do to make sure they don't get bored with it! If your students have done this in pairs, an easy way to change up the activity is to change up the number of students involved. Have them play in small groups, or, if you have a brave student who likes to be the center of attention, have them read and change details for the whole class!
Need it to be more like a GAME for REAL? Split students up into teams, line ‘em up, and read. First student to ring the bell, slap the desk, raise their hand…(whatever action you want) and call liar when you change a detail gets a point. Students move to the end of the line, and you keep reading. Ta-dah. More game like, and movement is involved as they rotate to the end of the line.

Like this post? Stop by and check out some of her other posts about reading activities and games:

Looking for even more games? Check out other Gamify Series posts! Be on the look out for more game options and blog posts from more AMAZING teachers.

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