Learning Language through Storytelling


In considering our topic for this week, I became interested in how storytelling can be used in teaching languages to children. My research on this turned up a method of teaching called TPRS, or Teaching Proficiency through Reading and Storytelling. TPRS is a relatively new technique in language teaching, so there is not much literature on it yet (or at least not much that isn’t dense scholarly articles), but I did turn up the above article, in which a spanish teacher describes her experience with using TPRS in one of her classes. To learn more about the topic I recommend the wikipedia page on it, as most of the other resources about this method seem to be books and forums.


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1 Response to Learning Language through Storytelling

  1. roshard13 says:

    As someone who is currently taking and dreading (kidding, but really) Elementary Spanish at Amherst I couldn’t resist responding to this post. Considering the development I have seen in my ability to memorize and engage creatively with information through our practice of storytelling, I can quickly understand why the TPR Storytelling method of teaching a foreign language is so effective. Though this is not a format my instructor uses I will surely try to find ways to incorporate it into my learning. As seen in the reading for this week and the other post by Group 4, storytelling cultivates a level of engagement with information that is not similarly fostered by the singular practices of objective listening, reading, and memorizing. Storytelling requires students to think creatively, develop voice and dictation skills, memorize context, become comfortable with public speaking and receiving feedback, and most importantly have fun! These are all things which are valuable to learning a language. This is probably why learning a new language is best done in at a young age. As seen in Quin’s and Lena Jo’s posts, for children, storytelling is very useful for helping them to make sense of the world they live in. Though this the stories (i.e. those they hear and those they tell) illuminate a process of socialization, we also see the benefits which are deep emotional and visceral engagement with the information they are given. TPR’s three step model—establishing the meaning of vocabulary, creating a spoken class story, and reading the new language structures—helps to recreate, through storytelling, the participatory and experienced based form of learning needed for learning a foreign language.

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