Storytelling is a powerful engine of  language acquisition. Apparently Blaine Ray, the originator of TPRS (Teaching Proficiency through Reading and Storytelling), was also the first person to create these circling stories that are at the core of the three-part mini-stories that we are now developing both for LingQ and the language learning community in general.


Others have used similar storytelling techniques. AJ Hogue of Effortless English and Piotr at Real Polish use this technique or forms of it. Lesson providers at LingQ have used this technique for Spanish, Russian, German, and other languages. We are now trying to expand this concept to include as many languages as possible.


My TPRS Mini-Story Project

We are looking for people to help us translate and record mini-stories into their native language. We offer two months free use of LingQ for every 10 stories translated, and one month for every five stories recorded as a modest inducement. I think this is a useful exercise in language reinforcement for anyone translating into their native language in this TPRS project. Please contact me or Zoran if you are interested in helping out.


One Hundred Mini-Stories in Five Levels

These stories are being written in English by a professional writer. They consist of three parts and are supposed to be entertaining. Part one is the basic story, part two the story from another point of view, and finally part three consists of questions.


The goal is to translate these into other languages, that is to create parallel stories for as many languages as possible, thus providing translated versions in the language of the learner. Languages are not limited to languages supported at LingQ.


All stories will be available for free use outside LingQ. The stories are meant to be easy, and will attempt to use the most common verbs of a language as much as possible. Thus the goal is not so much to increase vocabulary as to reinforce the basic patterns of the language.


This is an experiment. It may turn out that these translated stories don’t work in all languages. We may have to create language specific stories. In addition, members may want to create their own stories in their native language following a methodology similar to TPRS. We would then look at how to integrate these.


A Bridge to Authentic Content

This is not intended as a complete course in a language. It is hoped that these stories will provide some structure for learners at LingQ. This is only one source, and learners will be best advised to intersperse these lessons with many other sources and lessons, returning regularly to these stories to refresh their capabilities in the patterns that are featured in different levels (see below). We will look at ways to introduce grammar explanations in the notes to these stories, but that is for the future.


Each story consists of three parts: A) a simple story, B) same story from a different point of view, C) Questions. Questions include a statement with most of the facts needed to answer the question. The recording has a brief pause to allow the learner to attempt to answer if he/she wants to.


All stories (A & B) consist of 10 sentences. Sentence length is 7-8 words in level one, 8-10 words in level two, 10-12 in levels three-five. All stories have eight questions. Each level will attempt to concentrate on certain concepts or patterns (see below).


Each individual may have a special area of concentration, in terms of language usage, which will be identified by tags for that lesson to facilitate search. However, all aspects of the language will of necessity appear all over these stories. The key is to make the stories interesting and natural. The attempt to feature certain aspects of the languages should not make the stories unnatural. We will also need language specific versions of these to deal with issues like formality levels in Asian languages and other specific issues.


Level 1

Focus:  Simple sentences, present tense, positive and negative statements, adjectives, adverbs, comparisons.

Point of view: Different persons.

Questions: Is it or is it not, Does he or does he not, etc.


Level 2

Focus:  All tenses introduced, use of time words: always, usually, sometimes, for a long time, during, still etc. as much as possible, words of quantity, say and tell, prepositions.

Point of view: different tenses, different persons.

Questions: When, what kind, where, where from, where to, how much, who, to whom, with whom, by whom, from whom etc.


Level 3

Focus:  Purpose, intent, why, because, since, given the fact that, in order to, therefore, verbs of motion, verbs of giving and taking, more tenses.

Point of view: Tenses, persons.

Questions: Why, for what reason, in what way, how, when.


Level 4

Focus: Probability, necessity, possibility, doubt, conditional, if, even if, although, passive mood, subjunctive, wishing, hoping, wanting, needing, whenever, wherever, whoever.

Point of view: Different levels of probability, ought to, had to, might have to, did.

Questions: Did it seem, was it necessary, why.


Level 5

Focus:  Expressing opinion, in my view, on the other hand, it would appear, from my point of view, he expressed the view that, consequently, however, given the fact that, despite the fact that, although, nevertheless, moreover, etc.

Point of view: different levels of formality, different tenses, different persons.

Questions: Do you think that… What, in your view, is…etc.


Again, if you’re interested in being part of this TPRS project, please contact me or Zoran.


Want to learn  language from content you love?