What is TPRS®?

From time to time you will notice that I mention TPRS®. This is a revolutionary method that has helped my students to acquire Spanish faster than I have ever seen. It is not the only thing I do in the classroom, but since I teach lower levels it is a major part of what I do.

So what is it?

This is a question without a short answer, but I will do the best I can.

TPRS® is Teaching Proficiency through Reading and Storytelling.

It has also been called TPR Storytelling, which stems from TPR [Total Physical Response] a method developed by James Asher that involves teaching a language using body movement or gestures to establish meaning.

TPRS® was developed by Blaine Ray who was a Spanish teacher in California and has evolved over the years as more people refine this wonderful method.

So what is the method? I refer you to http://www.blaineraytprs.com/pages.php?page=explanationpage

Basically, there are 3 steps.

1. Establish meaning [usually there is a set of vocabulary which is your teaching objective for the day]

2. Ask a Story [the teacher, with the help of the students, creates a story around the vocabulary that was established]

3. Extended Reading [this is a reading that helps the students to visualize and reinforce the language that they have acquired from the story]

What else is there?

Circling [A questioning technique that gives the student repetition on the target structure]

Personalization [Relates the class and the story to the students]

Comprehensible Input [A hypothesis developed by Stephen Krashen, a language theorist. It is the idea that we learn language by understanding messages. This means that students understand a teacher 100% of the time. When they receive a new word it is immediately established in a meaningful way, most of the time translation on the board, picture, or prop]

Whew! That was a very short version. Check it out on the web if you ever get a chance or better yet, read a book about it!

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