Who Needs This Book
Fluency Through TPR Storytelling (Seventh Edition) is a book that will benefit TCI veterans and novices alike. Skilled authors like Blaine and Contee can explain the fundamentals while also giving more advanced practitioners what they need to take their teaching to the next level in the same book.
I’ve always struggled to think on my feet when storyasking, although I’m more comfortable doing it now than I was in the first couple years of teaching with comprehensible input. I’ve realized that there were two reasons why I didn’t feel comfortable asking the same stories that others made look so easy. First, my own target language proficiency had languished between the time I studied abroad and when I started teaching. I was expending considerable mental bandwidth consciously thinking about the language I was going to use. Second, I wasn’t following the steps that those who developed this method had developed.
The FAQ section is one of the more valuable parts of this book. This section is in chapter 19 (I have the seventh edition), however I suggest you start with this section if you have been teaching traditionally up to this point or if you haven’t been to a Blaine Ray workshop yet. The authors address common misconceptions about TPRS and expand on other things that you have probably heard about the method.
Get Thee to a Blaine Ray Workshop
Between this book and the hundreds of hours of video that teachers around the community have uploaded of themselves asking TPRS stories over the years, you can probably figure out how to do this and get satisfactory results. However, I can’t overstate the value of seeing Blaine or one of his trainers demonstrate the process in person during a two or three-day workshop. I don’t know how you could leave his training unconvinced as to the efficacy of TPRS versus traditional methods (administrators attend his workshops for free for this reason). You’ll also make lasting connections with other teachers from your area who are making the switch to TCI.
I bought my copy of the book on the last day of a three-day Blaine Ray workshop in Dallas with Blaine himself running the training. This workshop was the first big step I took on my TCI journey, so I wasn’t too knowledgeable about second language acquisition research at this point. I wish I would have read this book first and then taken it to the workshop to take notes in and journal during my free time.
Blaine is a genuine servant-leadership kind of guy. I got a chance to chat with Blaine over lunch while I was in Dallas and he signed my book and wrote a nice message inside the cover for me. My “green Bible” now prominently resides in my bookcase in my study. I was willing to fly from Columbus, OH to Dallas even though there were workshops much closer (taught by his trainers) because of Blaine’s reputation for connecting with his workshop attendees. He even brought in his friend, Randy Brooks, who wrote Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer (check out the cartoon on DVD, which is dubbed in Spanish). Randy told us about he got started as a songwriter and a storyteller. Of course he played some songs on his guitar during a break on the last day as well.
Fluency Through TPR Storytelling is required reading for any teacher who is interested in doing traditional TPRS and a great reference for anyone who is teaching with comprehensible input-based methods.