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Stepping Stones To Stories

Stepping Stones To Stories

By Ben Slavic
Format: PDF Digital Download
Price: $29.95

Ben’s System Of Starting The Year With Comprehensible Input

TPRS trainings used to focus on stories right away. People would do a workshop and then try to start teaching in the fall using stories in their beginning level classes. It rarely worked. It was too much, too fast.

It is the premise of this book that it is best to wait to start using stories until the late fall or early winter, not before, using alternatives, the stepping stone strategies offered in this book, to start our year.

These stepping stones to stories are easier to learn than stories. In addition to preparing the teacher in the art of using comprehensible input, they also show the teacher how to set up:

1. a strong and vibrant classroom management program.

2. a personalized classroom

3. an assessment program that works and saves time.

The caution to new teachers is that, without the classroom management, personalization and assessment pieces in place first, it is much more difficult to make comprehension based instruction work. In fact, it is nearly impossible.

Why is starting out a school year with stories a most difficult thing to pull off in foreign language classrooms? What opposes their use in secondary school classrooms in the United States? Here are some reasons:

1. The entire system of storytelling is very hard to learn and most people give up on it within months of trying it.

2. The vast majority of students don’t know how to interact with their teachers in class and must be trained.

3. The data gathering and grading pieces required in schools are in conflict with the soul of comprehension based instruction. Students, parents and especially administrators who don’t understand storytelling can ruin careers.

4. TPRS as a pedagogical term conveys an image of classroom chaos to huge amounts of teachers, due to something we might call “TPRS Confusion Syndrome”. 

5. Training is insufficient. It is folly to ask a teacher to attend a summer training in the area of comprehension based instruction and then go in and make the bucking bronco of comprehension based teaching work in their classroom in the fall.

Training wheels, what are really “stepping stones to stories”, are available here. The teacher who wants instruction in personalization is advised to read PQA in a Wink! Read TPRS in a Year! for training in actual story creation.

The purpose of this book is to help you get your year cranked up with good classroom discipline and personalization before you worry about stories later. You’ll be a lot better with stories having studied and practiced the ideas in this book first. This is the right place to start.

In Stepping Stones to Stories, you will discover how to:

* Start your school year with simplified strategies that work.
* Choose and implement the strategies that work best for you.
* Teach using comprehensible input without using stories if you don’t want to.
* Bring students into your classroom process without forcing them.
* Teach for authentic language acquisition.
* Align with 21st century standards and research.
* Manage your classroom in ways that really work.
* Establish an assessment program that works and saves time.
* Learn skills like Staying in Bounds to make sure that each student understands.
* Make comprehensible input the foundation of your success.
* Establish trust in your classroom.

Ben comments on his newest book:

“Just as TPRS in a Year! is about stories and PQA in a Wink! is about personalization, this book shows you how to start out the year using comprehensible input.

Customer Reviews


Mokhiddin Jalilkhojaev:

“The book is exactly what I have been looking for. I have always wondered if stories are the best way to start out. After reading a few pages, I realized that there are other much easier ways of providing comprehensible input by focusing on the students, not on a story. This is exactly what I need. Thank you!”


Alex Lee:

“I’m a Latin teacher jumping into a CI approach this year after many years of teaching according to traditional methods. I recently read Stepping Stones to Stories!and found it incredibly helpful, and I’m sure it will prove very useful as the year progresses. Many thanks for your excellent work!”


Liam O’Neill: 

“Stepping Stones has twice the impact of a multi-day CI/TPRS conference. Reading it in late-August helped me establish, in those precious first days, a rapport and procedure that are putting my year on a whole new level.

“A problem has been lurking in the CI/TPRS community for some time. All-star teachers showcase the power of TPRS with flare, wit and Hollywood charisma, making disbelievers believe. But, the focus for a would-be practitioner soon becomes the story and the superstar personality that delivered it. “There is too much involved and it doesn’t fit my personality anyway – I could never do those antics or be so entertaining.”

“Stepping Stones has leveled the playing field by systematically translating CI theory into CI teaching – with ANY personality. It will give any new practitioner confidence to move forward. And it may very well become standard late-August reading for new and veteran practitioners alike.”


Greg Stout:

“I just read several pages of the beginning of your new book and can’t wait to continue. I’m so glad you’ve done the work of articulating all this for new people like me. This stuff is awesome.”


 Robert Patrick, M.Div, PhD:

“This book is fantastic! I am so glad that I have it to use with my methods class at the University of Georgia.

“In my instruction I typically include a section on the core principles of comprehensible input and why each one matters. But you have it all right here in your book! Stunning. Mind-blowing! Hooray!

“This is the book I am going to insist that people buy as “what to do next” in their work as they move into comprehension based language instruction in their own classrooms.”


Michelle Parker 

“Thank you for the opportunity to be in your workshop at the iFLT conference. I left your room everyday with so much information, and truly inspired!

“And I am loving this new book! The workshop, you’re writing, it is inspiring. School starts Friday, and I am excited! Thank you!”


Bradley Donaldson: 

“Stepping Stones to Stories! was an excellent and highly informative read – the perfect book to read before starting a TPRS/TCI program.

“I feel more confident that I’ll be beginning the year right and I always have the books’ chapters to refer to whenever I need. It’s like the fundamental posts of the PLC condensed into one place.”