Laurie’s Idea of Shared Readings

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25 thoughts on “Laurie’s Idea of Shared Readings”

  1. I just have one question for now: can you please explain what “embedded reading” means? Is it just a story-reading with more details? When would kids read that in the schedule? Ok so that’s not one question….

          1. Sabrina Sebban-Janczak

            Hi Jen,

            I had sent a private email to Lori yesterday before seeing this great thread and idea. I was asking her if she could/would kindly go over embedded reading next week at the Maine conference with a few of us interested (anyone can join) , as I personally need more info/clarification as to how to do this embedded reading thing in my classroom. I was asking her if she could go over it informally in the evening/late afternoon may be in the hotel lobby or anywhere really, and she graciously agreed. I will make sure it is OK with Joe since this is his conference and we don’t want to step on his toes.
            But if you want I can bring you one of my French 1/2 stories to bring back to your classroom and embed and send back to me as per this fantastic idea (Thank you Lori!).
            Anyone else interested I teach French 1 /2 and my private email is

          2. Sabrina Janczak

            Ooops, and sorry Laurie…. I mispelled your name. And since there is another Lorie, I don’t want to confuse anyone.

  2. Super excited to start this! Don’t have a clear vision, but I think we could just send stuff out to whomever wants to do it right? It seems like it will generate a lot of cool reading that we could then use however we need. For me personally, I think I will need to do this in a more free-form way rather than a structured pairing. This is mostly because I can hardly keep track of all the regular irregularities in our schedule: who has a field trip, sports, concert, college visit, etc.

    But that’s just me. I am totally open to suggestions and imagine we will feel our way through this. I think it will be great for my group, since our school is so small. Any “outside contact” is generally exciting for us!

    1. Sabrina Janczak

      How about posting these reading in a shared google doc or dropbox so anyone looking for a reading to embed can access them . There could be categories for each langauge/level so they are easly accessible, followed by an email to the respective teacher to let her/him know we are using their reading and embedding them, then put the new embedded reading in the google ot dropbox. Is that possible to do? I wonder….

  3. LOLOL Oh my gosh, I go to school for the day and look what happens!!! If you have no idea what Embedded Readings are…go to the website for a start. Everything good that we have out in the world is on that site.

    I received Jen’s story today (hey Ben…she has some Madrilen~o slang for you! lol) and I immediately thought of several options:
    1. I put it on the SmartBoard, we read and add details.
    2. I don’t show them anything. I’ll read it, they act it out and I’ll draw out details where is seems natural. Then I’ll type those in and both groups can have it to read.
    3. I give copies to students in small groups and each group adds details. I can then put all of the details in one story….or have 5 different stories.
    4. I give one to my rockin’ stellar star students to have fun with when they are light-years ahead of the group on something else…….

    Let the fun begin!
    with love,

    1. Laurie, it’s true. You’re a genius. You rock.
      *Cross-country collaboration with no need for video release forms and no scheduling problems.
      *real life application of stories (telling them to another class)
      *the CI equivalent of pen-pals for beginners
      *and so much more that I haven’t thought of yet, I’m sure
      Thank you.

  4. I am SO psyched to get in on this action!!! WOW….Laurie and Jen – you ROCK!! (and Sabrina! – again, great minds think alike! I thought the same thing – to put the stories up as-is, in a place where people can “have at them” and then email the teacher that they are “borrowing” and “embedding” them!! )
    LOVE it!!!
    **I had ROCKIN day today too! –got my Level 1 kids to RESPOND in the preterite!!! WHOOOOOAAAAA!!! it was making me beam from ear to ear!
    Man I love this CI-stuff, and this PLC!!!

  5. OK Ben ….can you please set up a sub-section to this for “Spanish stories”, “French stories”, “German stories,” “Chinese”……whatever languages the folks on this PLC teach (HENCE the need for the BIOS!!!! – we can’t help you if we don’t know your language!!!) :-}
    Does this make sense to everyone, or does anyone have another recommendation? BTW: my email is (Spanish)
    I have a short story about a boy who hunts a moose. Currently we’re working on one about a monkey that gets taken away from Madagascar and brought to Siberia where it’s cold and he’s cold!!! (that’s as far as we got today) — worked in the preterite.

  6. leigh anne munoz

    Ben et al,

    After looking over the ‘Readings based on…’ category stories for French, I too, am seriously interested in more sharing.

    However, my stories do not flow the way Ben’s do when he teaches from Anne’s scripts. Truthfully, no one’s stories flow the way Ben’s do!

    There is another, more basic issue at hand — if I were to order Anne’s materials, which I have no problem doing, I would *not* get the results that Ben does. He is *years* beyond me, and is more intuitive. So, would I ever reach his level? Will trial and error ever lead me to the green fields of ‘Good Story’ Land? Keep in mind, I have years of experience, and at best am a good PQA teacher, with very little success with stories.

    Realistically speaking, why should I even try, if Ben is already doing this kind of thing with Anne’s scripts and doing such an amazing job of it?

    In summary — Is there any way to delicately ask Anne if she will permit Ben to post more of her stories that he has elaborated on with his students in French?

    Ben, what do you think?

    1. Look at us comparing. We can’t compare. That is what I never have been able to get across to my own satisfaction in this group. Comprehension based instruction is all a big ocean. No one is an expert and no one has a monopoly on it. It is, as it were, a shared ocean. Some of us are in one place and others in another.

      We have a sense of place that reflects who we are. Some of us have two weeks of experience, and then, like Jody, she has been doing this since the mid-nineties.

      So that sense of place in that ocean – that island that is our classroom – is how we teach. It is inviolable and a place of magic, no matter how “good” or “bad” our teaching is. Why?

      Because it is infused with purpose and determination fueled by Krashen’s 900 kickass published articles. Do you know what I mean? Man, anyone trying to do CI these days, no matter how much it sucks, is part of something big.

      When we tell the kids what we are doing, even the kids sense how big this is. We should all tell them. They will show up more when we tell them.

      So if I do a story a certain way, that is my sense of place, my personality, and you’re right it is largely intuitive for me and much more so every day. I receive what I am given by the kids in any one class on any given day with gratitude and with thanks and humility.

      Do you see? We want to compare and standardize because that is what we have been taught to do. There is that element of competition that hurts our society so much, hurts our dear country so much.

      We don’t need to think like that anymore. What do we do here – we co-operate. We co-create, like we do with the kids in making stories. Cooperation vs. Competition. Intuition vs. Intellect. It’s the Big Shift, the one that brings the new oceans of happiness in the New Humanity that is being born right now that we are in our field of language instruction a very small part of.

      All of us working together with dedication, humility and a sense of shared vision that will bring a change that we could never imagine, and a lot sooner than we think. Pretty cool, huh?

      In this new way of looking at ourselves as teachers, one is not better than the other. It is not true that if we only work harder and harder we will get to levels of accomplishment in our field and people will finally approve of us. We don’t even have to work harder. We just need to relax and enjoy the kids. We don’t need to work harder. We don’t need to work harder.

      I really do appreciate the kind words don’t get me wrong. I lap them up. I lurf them. BUT I have been doing this for 12 years, and 24 before that. And I firmly subscribe to Gladwell – the more classes we teach, the more comfortable we feel.

      So let us remember that there is nothing wrong with us, it’s not about comparisons, and it’s not about being the best. It’s about CI – we either put the kids in a position to hear and read the language or we don’t. Each minute we can be doing CI, or we could not be doing CI.

      I know you didn’t even mean it that way, Leigh Anne. But I just feel so badly because all these gifted teachers think that they have so far to go and I really want to hit the point here that we are all a click of the heels from being where we want. We are all a click of the heels from being where we want.

      That’s it, and sorry for the ramble.

      As far as how to set this reading thing up, my fear is that we will end up with a shitload of stories that are presented like they are on the moretprs list – scattered and useless. That is why we started the “Readings Based On” categories, but then we stopped using it. So I don’t have the answer.

      My intution is against a drop box or a Googledoc. Don’t ask why. I don’ t know. Ain’t feelin’ it.

      I do know that I have a question:

      Let’s say I write a reading based on He Talks Too Much by Anne. So that reading is particular to my class. The details and funny things are particular to us. My student Magic Angel gets very excited about going on dates.

      Magic Angel will probably appear in every story we do for the rest of the year because when we create our stories, I will remember to have him banging on the desk saying, “Yes! Yes! Yes!” to my question if he wants to go out with a certain girl.

      Now, if I send it to a French teacher and her class reads it, they can relate to Magic Angel bc the structures will jive, since they are from the same story. (We got there when I asked the class what Chau talks so loudly about and it was about her boyfriend Magic Angel. Chau took a Mexican Limo to the beach where she pissed off a cow standing on the beach by talking too much about Magic Angel.)

      My question is, if anyone is still reading, is if the stories are so personalized to our individual classes then I can see us sending it to a French teacher whose class just did that story in the same week, as stated.

      But to have a bank of unending stories, it makes me think of one of those places where they put old worn out tires. They just pile up. (The sparkle of a story evaporates on Fridays anyway, have you ever noticed that?)

      So this is just to say that I don’t have a vision for this idea if it does not involve two teachers who plan on doing the same story that week. So those are my thoughts. Where do we go from here?

      Again, I wish I could tell you why I don’t want a box or Google doc. It has something to do with wanting this site to stay tech free. It’s emotional. Can’t explain it. Google doc and are not compatible. Error!

      1. leigh anne munoz

        I’m ready to start crying from your honesty and compassion. I really needed to read those words. I would not call your response to my desperation a ‘rant’ by any measure…

        Thank you, Ben, and everyone for making this such a safe place to grow as a teacher. 🙂

        Also, I teach AP French and have only been speaking French for 4 years, and I need to remember that! I really struggle to form the intermediate structures with my own mouth. This year 2 Egyptian students joined my little home-grown French class and I really do feel more pressure…

        Anyway, I am starting to feel differently, even as I read and respond on this blog. I like that.

  7. I think the sharing will actually work better for most. I have Jim’s Scripts and Blaine’s, and even though I *TRY* to use them, the stories in my class just evolve and F L O W…..from the students. I start off using the written scripts, but very soon we go off on tangents that fit our town, students’ interests, etc. (and my dept’s curriculum)
    I like the idea of sharing the story on here so we can work on the embedded readings — instead of one story being developed by the same class — mine. If I do it that way, then they know the outcome before I have it written on paper. If another class embellishes it, then they are getting the i+1, expanding their vocab – with little work from ME! (thank you!)
    Am I synthesizing this correctly??

  8. I teach Spanish and Latin and would love to get in on this well.

    A google doc would work well for me also. Wouldn’t that be much easier than posting stories here through Ben?

  9. Let’s give it a try for French stories! has been updated to Google Drive, so it is just a virtual online storage place like Dropbox. I signed in with my Google account, downloaded and installed the Google Drive software, and created a folder “French readings”, with subfolders for Level I to Level V/AP.
    Then I copied a first reading of the story “Privé de sortie” to the Level I folder and added a Word document containing our email addresses so far.
    I will now have Google send an email to those of you interested in order to invite you to share the French stories folder. You may do so after joining Google Drive. Feel free to add whatever reading you like.
    Up to now there are Chill, Jen, Sabrina, Krista, Allison and me. (I havn’t got Leigh Anne’s email.)
    Each of us who adds a reading should send a notification mail to the rest of the group and wait for new, enriched versions to be posted to the same folder by any one spontaneous enough to do so. We’ll see if it works.
    In case others want to join, send me an email: and you’ll receive the invitation mail.

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