Effortless English Archives

Automatic English For The People

Sunday, August 07, 2005

TPRS (TPR Storytelling)

by AJ

TPRS has changed its name-- they've kept the same initials (TPRS) but the creators now say that the letters stand for "Teaching Proficiency through Reading and Storytelling".

When I first read this I thought it was unecessary and kind of goofy. But now that Im delving into free reading with Spanish (and soon Thai), I understand the motivation for the change. Reading (free, pleasurable, authentic) is a fantastic complement to storytelling. Together, the two work synergistically to boost vocabulary, grammar knowledge, and overall competence with a language.

Of all the techniques I use in class, TPRS is without a doubt the most consistently effective- despite my rather shoddy skill with the technique. I know reading is equally powerful (both from the research and from personal study)... but getting my students to read for fun has been a bigger challenge than Id expected. But I will keep trying- because hooking my students on pleasure reading (not textbooks, not grammar books, not academic texts) is perhaps the best service I can perform for them. I will remain a tireless evangelist for pleasure reading.

Teachers interested in TPR Storytelling- who would like a detailed guide to using it, should go to Blaine Ray's online TPRS catalog. For those new to the technique, I recommend starting with Fluency Through TPR Storytelling (book) and the Introduction to TPRS Workshop (DVD). These two provide a grounding in the basic technique.

From there, try Blaine And Von Ray Teaching TPRS (DVD for more experienced TPRS teachers). Of course, a live workshop would be ideal... but those of us on the other side of the world from America have to make do with DVDs and books.