We all love stories and storytelling is a wonderful way to teach a language. Conversa Books makes Spanish language materials for students from kindergarten to 8th grade based on TPRS (Teaching Proficiency Through Reading and Storytelling). These books give teachers an easy way to introduce this teaching method into their classrooms. The lessons also incorporate games, music and culture. These books can be used to supplement any curriculum or as the basis for an entire Spanish language program. You can see samples of the materials on the Conversa Books website.
There is lots of information about TPRS online, so I will not go into much detail about the method. Basically, it involves first introducing vocabulary with gestures, translation and questions. Then the class creates an oral story and finally does a reading. TPRS is based on lots of comprehensible input. If you read much on Spanish Playground, you know that I think it is key to mastering a language!
For each level, Conversa Books makes a student workbook and a teacher’s guide. The teacher’s guide provides support to let educators who have not had specific training in TPRS incorporate the method into their classrooms. Much of what is involved is familiar to all teachers, for example, asking oral questions and TPR (Total Physical Response). The material in the teacher’s guide gives specific instructions on how to refine these techniques and use them to support storytelling.
In addition to general information about how to present the material, the teacher’s guide provides an extensive list of oral questions for each lesson and specific gestures to use to introduce the vocabulary. You will also find cultural information, games and crafts for the younger grades.
Students use the workbook to do readings and to interact creatively with the language. There are drawing activities, and students also write their own stories, supported by the classroom lesson. The student books include a Spanish-English glossary with pictures.
I like the confidence that Conversa Books has in teachers. Often, TPRS is presented as being very complicated. However, teachers are capable of incorporating new techniques into their classroom with a little support. Conversa Books provides that support and offers a lively, interactive supplement to any curriculum.
Disclosure: The company sent me a copy of this product to be able to write the article. All of the ideas and opinions are my own.