The “S” Lens and World Languages

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The “S” Lens and World Languages

As, I have written before, one of the aspects of education that I truly enjoy is collaboration. I enjoy meaningful and effective collaboration, because we deepen our knowledge and understanding of our field, and we also bring new ideas to the forefront and create new paths to explore.

With that said, I wanted to further explore the reading strategies present by Dr. Patrick Brown. ( More specifically, I wanted to relate the analytical “S” Lens Reading Tasks & Probing Questions to world languages. That is, I wanted to find overlap and see if these science reading strategies could also be applied in the world language classroom.

​Note: The “S” Lens is used for the reader to interact with the text to develop a deeper understanding of it. The lenses are Structure, Speaker, Situation, Shifts, and Summary Statements. Each lens becomes the reading activity versus the product of the reading. This strategy allows students to develop more in-depth content and literacy understanding through engaging in a text’s intricacies and exploring different perspectives. (Read more about the “S” Lens here:

Below you will find my thoughts on the “S” Lens as they relate to language. However, I want this to be more than me simply sharing my thoughts. I would like you to share your thoughts about the “S” Lens and also about my thoughts about it below. I also would like to know how/if you think aspects the “S” Lens could be readily and effectively implemented in the world language classroom. So, please:

1. Familiarize yourself with the (scientific) “S” Lens* *if you haven’t done so already. (Link above in 2nd paragraph)

2. Read my thoughts below.

3. Share your thoughts and insights in the comment section.


“S” Lens *Reading Tasks/Probing Questions – as they relate to language


Skim the text:

  • Is it a fictional (story) text or nonfiction (informational (text)?
  • How is the text written? (Present, Past, Conditional, 3rd Person, 1st (& 2nd) person POV, dialogue)
  • What is the sentence & paragraph structure? (Shorter, longer, simple, complicated)
  • What is the level of vocabulary? (Readily understandable 90% +, less readily understandable, but approachable, not comprehensible, and not “readable” at current proficiency level)
  • Are there figures, tables, graphs, illustrations, or sidebars (terms defined in the first language of the reader) to help the reader with comprehensibility of the text?
  • Can you determine whether there are “key” sections or sentences?

Speaker (Character Voices, Tones, “Feeling” of the Text):

Analyze text from the characters point of view (for fictional (story) texts):

  • Who are the characters?
  • How are they presented (1st person, 3rd person, blend)?
  • What are the emotions of the characters?
  • What tones and/or feelings do you get from the text, i.e., urgency, calmness, etc.
  • Can you make inferences from the provided text about the overall feeling or direction of the text?

Analyze text (for nonfiction texts):

  • What is the topic? (Historical, cultural, contemporary)
  • How is it presented? (matter-of-factly, narrative style)
  • Is there a bias or could there be another POV on the topic?
  • What is the tone of the text?


Read the text for main ideas:

  • When was the article/book/excerpt written?
  • What was the purpose of the text? (Informational, entertainment, etc.)
  • Where and when is it set?
  • Why was the title chosen?
  • Does the text connect to other texts? (Is it part of a series?)


Analyze where the text changes:

  • Transitions – where and why?
  • Does the tone change or do character attitudes change – where and why?
  • Does the style of writing change, i.e., from 3rd person to 1st person, etc.?
  • Does the tense change (from present to future, etc.)?

Summary Statements:

Demonstrate understanding:

  • Write a summary statement of your understanding (first language or target language)
  • Connect/related the text to your knowledge and/or experiences
  • Presentations

I look forward to your thoughts, insights, and collaboration!​

Mach’s gut!

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