To solve this problem, I began writing my own stories aimed at both the reading level AND interest level of high school students. To keep them interested, I employed the same technique employed by the popular TV and book series that they enjoy outside of school...cliffhangers! Soon, I had developed a number of multi-episode story series with characters involved in the bizarre and dramatic situations that teenagers crave. Each episode puts specific vocabulary sets and grammar points in an understandable and entertaining context.
As I began to introduce these stories to my students, I had to find a way to support their reading without the use of English. Despite being a horrible artist, I began illustrating the stories for my students as we read. As they became more proficient, I was able to turn the responsibility of illustrating the stories over to them as they read in groups. As they became more confident, they would read in pairs. Finally, they were ready to read independently! This was a proud moment for all of us and I enjoy this moment every year. As I finally turn them loose, remove the training wheels, and show them that they really CAN read in Spanish.
Here are some stories and activities that I have written and used in my classroom: