Google Tours + Fluency Matters Comprehension-based™ Readers

By Maris Hawkins

One of the many reasons that Fluency Matters Comprehension-based™ readers have my students hooked is that they take place in a variety of countries.  Not only can students travel there through the pages of the book, they can *almost* literally travel there through Google Tour Builder. You can create a Google Tour and have your students walking through the same streets as some of the real and fictional characters in your favorite book!

In this post, I will explain how to create your own Google Tour, add questions and give ideas as to what you can include throughout the adventure.

If you have a Google account, you can log in and get started. You want to start by clicking on “create a tour.”[/vc_column_text]


You will name it and then, this screen will pop up.


I like to find pictures that relate to the story or where we are going. A great feature of Google Tours is that it is easy to search for pictures using Tour Builder. You do not have to open other windows. In the summary, I will include the chapters that are included in this Google Tour, so I can remember the following year when I used it. I like to have students complete a Google Tour when we are about ¾ of the way through a reader.  This way, they are able to see a lot of the places in the book.

Once I am done with the introduction, I will add a location. I suggest starting with where your school is located.  This will give students an idea of how far away the country is from your school.


Now is where the fun (and work!) starts! If you want to add any pictures or videos you can do so here. You can include photos through the Google search which is pretty easy.  You can also include videos from YouTube here. Searching for videos takes time, but I have found some great ones that go into the markets of various books. I skip the start or end date unless there is one in the book.

In the end where it says, tell your audience about this location, I explain the relevance in the book in Spanish and then I ask them questions about the location. Sometimes, I will ask them recall questions about what is going on in the book in this location or to simply state what they see in the area or the video. I can also have students look for applications from the book in the street or video. For example, in Bianca Nieves, I had students describe the traje de luz that they saw in the video of the tour. You can also turn this into a quick interpretive listening activity. Students could listen to a video in a market in Bolivia for El Ekeko: Un misterio boliviano and state three fruits or vegetables they heard and the prices.

Finally, I will show students how to use Street View. If you click on the symbol of the yellow person, all the streets that you can “walk” around turn a teal color. This allows you to have students press arrows and turn all around on the streets. They can drag around the map to look to the right or left and then click on the arrows to move each way down the street. It is truly amazing what you can see on the street view! To get back to the map, you can click exit street view.


You can keep adding locations and repeating the same process until you are done! I try to include at least 5 places in each tour. While this can seem time consuming, it becomes less and less so the more you practice. Your students will be able to experience some amazing aspects of the Comprehension-based™ readers! For example, you can actually walk around the National Museum of Mexican Art and see the murals in the streets of Pilsen from La Calaca Alegre. In El Ekeko: Un misterio boliviano, your students can see how far it is to walk from the center of town to El Alto. In Santana, track all of the moves that Carlos’ family made throughout his life. Pack your bags and get ready to travel via Google Tours!


1 Comment
  • awuebker
    Posted at 19:08h, 30 September

    That is awesome! Thanks for the post! Would you be willing to share tours you’ve made so I can see a real life example? I do calaca alegre and am just starting Bianca Nieves for the first time and would love to use this! Thanks for your ideas- such a great resource!

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