You Gotta BE the Book!

You Gotta BE the Book! by Jeffrey Wilhelm

Through textured case studies of engaged and reluctant readers, “You Gotta Be the Book” addresses the following issues: What do highly engaged, adolescent readers DO as they read? What is it about traditional schooling, reading instruction, and literary instruction that deters engaged reading and serves to disenfranchise young readers? How can interventions like dramatic and artistic responses to literature be used in classrooms to help all readers, especially reluctant ones, to take on the strategies and stances of more expert readers – and to reconceive of reading as a personally meaningful, pleasurable and productive pursuit?

The Read-Aloud Handbook

The Read-Aloud Handbook, by Jim Trelease

For more than two decades, millions of parents and educators have turned to Jim Trelease’s beloved classic to help countless children become avid readers through awakening their imaginations and improving their language skills. Now this new edition of “The Read-Aloud Handbook” imparts the benefits, rewards, and importance of reading aloud to children of a new generation. Supported by delightful anecdotes as well as the latest research, “The Read- Aloud Handbook” offers proven techniques and strategies—and the reasoning behind them— for helping children discover the pleasures of reading and setting them on the road to becoming lifelong readers. The key parts of the book will resonate with TPRS teachers as we already do a lot of what Trelease suggests to help promote literacy and a love of reading in our classrooms.

Fluency Through TPRS

Fluency Through TPR Storytelling, by Blaine Ray and Contee Seely

Even now, early in the 21st century, foreign and second language programs in schools in North America and most of the world produce very few students who can fluently speak and comprehend spoken language or read and write competently. Nearly all high school, middle school and elementary school TPR Storytelling students can actually do these things. From day one students understand everything they hear and read in their new language and are answering numerous questions about stories. In the first weeks students acquire a basic comprehension vocabulary and the most essential structures. In two or three months they are able to express themselves with fluency appropriate to their level. This book gives a thorough overview of the TPR Storytelling method and describes in detail what students and teachers do at every level.

Maintaining Interest

Blaine Ray says that using interesting details keeps students’ attention. We all know this – the question is, how do we do it? Blaine suggests using things like Facebook, Craigslist and eBay in stories. He also says that specificity is key, so try to describe characters and their situations in detail. For example, instead of just saying a character in a story is “poor”, decide how much money exactly the character has – $0.03 or $3 million? Or if a student in the story smells like a hippo, find out why (because his roommate is a hippo). Dramatizing and making students feel good about themselves will also help you to hold their attention.

Ways to Get Points

There are many ways that students can earn points with the PAT system. Basically they can get them by doing anything that is conducive to learning. Some ideas include:

  • 1 minute: all students are on time
  • 1 minute: all students are prepared
  • 1 minute: all students are quiet while attendance is taken and absent students are caught up
  • 2 minutes: students use a set number of rejoinders
  • 3 minute: no off-task English during class
  • 1 minute: ‘wowing’ the teacher (ie. giving a cute answer, being on-task, etc.)
  • 1 minute: stumping the teacher (ie. catching a spelling/accent/translation mistake)
Source: Bryce Hedstrom, moreTPRS