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Classroom Tip

Ready, Set, Read!

Teaching Proficiency through Reading and Storytelling (TPRS)

TPRS builds proficiency in the use of grammatical structures by having the students read and invent stories. The structures are not explained at length, nor are the students drilled in grammatical paradigms. Instead, the teacher creates a context in which the target structures and vocabulary return repeatedly within a conversation. In this context, students acquire proficiency in a natural, conversational way. They are not learning about the language; they are learning to use the language.

A TPRS lesson progresses in three phases.

  1. Establish meaning. The teacher presents linguistic structures and vocabulary through spoken examples in the target language, and ensures student comprehension through gestures and writing target structures on the board in the target language and in the students' native language.
  2. Reinforce the structures by "asking" a story. In the target language, the teacher introduces the outline of a story and asks students to provide the details. The teacher solicits student responses by asking who/what/when/where/why/how questions, thus continually recycling both the vocabulary and the target grammar. The student's answers build the story. Students are encouraged to be creative.
  3. Reiterate the material through reading and discussing a similar story that the teacher has prepared in advance in the target language. Verify comprehension by having students translate this second story in writing. Repeat the target structure by asking who/what/when/where/why/how questions about the story, and about the students themselves. Asking the students questions about themselves (PQA, or Personalized Questions and Answers) keeps them actively involved in the entire process.

Find out about TPRS here

Many of our K-12 lesson plans use TPRS methodology. This web page offers background information about TPRS, tools for your own TPRS lessons, and a sampling of links to external resources.

Background information
  • The Power of Reading
    Florence Martin reviews Stephen D. Krashen's book The Power of Reading: Insights from the Research.
  • Frequently asked questions
    Find out about getting started, TPRS materials, and classroom environment.
  • TPRS at work
    Eavesdrop on a TPRS teacher workshop by Jason Fritze and Project COACH.
Resources

TPRS tools to download

Teachers' websites about TPRS

These sites provide tips, downloadable tools, and links to further resources for TPRS. Most of the teachers offer TPRS workshops.

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