Storytelling for Language Acquisition

Author: Patricia Rich


The U School

Year: 2019

Seminar: Storytelling Traditions of South Asia and the Middle East

Grade Level: 11

Keywords: Asian literature, Foreign Language, language acquisition, storytelling

School Subject(s): Languages

The stars are the apexes of what wonderful triangles! —H. D. Thoreau

This unit is developed around a Turkish folktale. It is written for first year Spanish
students, but the materials can easily be adapted for any level and any language. There
are also lesson materials here, developed around an Iranian legend, for another unit for
second year Spanish students.

The purpose of this curriculum unit is twofold. First, it seeks to foster new
language acquisition through reading and storytelling. For years I have appreciated the
versatility of Blaine Ray’s method of Teaching Proficiency through Reading and
Storytelling (TPRS)1 in my German and Spanish classrooms, and in keeping with the
TPRS method, I will be writing a Spanish curriculum unit tangential to Ray’s approach.
Students who have been learning with TPRS will be comfortable with these assignments,
and students new to TPRS will enjoy the creative freedom and the satisfying results of
their own storytelling.

Second, this unit provides an adventure into Asian literature. As such, it yields a
delightfully hybrid product: eastern stories in a western language. An intentional
departure from Eurocentric instruction, the curriculum unit does not have the prerequisite
that students arrive in class already familiar with Anglo-Saxon stories and legends, to the
chagrin of those unacquainted. On the contrary, these assignments will affirm an
underrepresented few, and tantalize the curious.

Download Unit: Rich-P..pdf

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