NOVICE-LOW to NOVICE MID
This is a winner story for early level I language learners. It is now in English and Spanish to help teachers that teach languages other than Spanish: LA CHICA QUIERE CAFE THE GIRL WANTS COFFEE . This is a story in a simple format that was modeled for a new teacher observing my class. I wanted to show her that students could learn a story very early in the year and I wrote down the explanations I gave to her in our conversations afterwards. The super simple approach worked so well I plan on using it again.
Scroll down to pages 9-11 for the story in a slightly expanded form and with blanks so that you can make it unique to your class and give students agency. The basic story is this:
There is a boy. The boy has coffee.
There is a girl. The girl wants coffee.
The girl gives the boy (something).
the boy gives the girl the coffee.
Expand on the story from there in “embedded reading” style, by adding details to each retelling.
Similar level 1 stories, La chica fantástica and El chico pequeño, are available in expanded forms in the student reader for Stories for Spanish Class, Volume 2:
La Leyenda de la Llorona Embedded Reading is available for purchase.
“I just wanted to express my gratitude to Bryce and his La leyenda de la Llorona. This week I gave my students two exams. One was the state exam where they had to write a story. Many of my Spanish One students wrote out the story of la Llorona. The vocabulary in that story is much higher than I had ever encountered in a Spanish One class and I was afraid that it was too high for my Spanish One students; however after seeing their writing and language after completion of the story and activities I couldn’t be prouder. They then had to do a five minute presentation of them talking to the class and talking to me afterwards about their story. Many of them chose La Llorona. They were spot on and many of them even picked up the words aside of the intended structures. I then asked my students about that story and why so many had chosen it. I got the same response: that this story just stood out to them. They loved that it was a legend as opposed to a class story and it was the only one that I had retold embedded style more than five times. Bryce has added activities to go with each telling of the story and each one just helped the students to acquire the story and use the language outside of the story. I could not be happier with this story and the activities that he included. I am definitely using it again next year and from then on.”—Nancy Wallace
What I love about your La Llorona project is that it gives a teacher a blueprint of how to work with a story. Your work helped me understand a lot better how to put some things together. —Michele Whaley, developer of Embedded Reading with Laurie Clarcq
THE GIRL AND THE CAT
This is a whimsical story for novice language classes that uses high frequency vocabulary. It deals with coming-of-age issues and also has elements of other disciplines, including numbers, built in to it. The nature of the story requires repetition in order for students to get the final question. The story and questions are in both Spanish and English and in the present and past tenses.
NOVICE MID to NOVICE HIGH
THE JOB AT THE ZOO
This is a joke in Spanish (& in English on the second page) that my kids liked. More and more, I like telling jokes that impact students at multiple levels. This one is funny and students can relate to it, because it addresses the impostor syndrome, that nagging feeling that we might just be faking our way through life. Amy Cuddy addresses this impostor issue in her book Presence. At least half of all people report feeling this way and your students will be able to relate.
El secreto de hablar con las chicas
Here is a story for Spanish 1-3 about a boy who is popular with the girls by always responding with a simple “I understand.” I offered it as a service to the guys in my class and it went viral in the school. Kids that were not even in the class, kids I didn’t even know, kept coming up to offer their opinions for or against the premise. I of course responded to all with “I understand.” Works like a dream, even with difficult people–especially with difficult people. Try it and see if it doesn’t work for you too.
Here it is in English: THE SECRET TO TALKING WITH GIRLS
This is a Spanish 2 story that grew over a period of two weeks: EL AMIGO ESPECIAL. The girl in the story is a good-natured student in a Spanish 2 class that played along, and with whom the other students had fun giving ideas. It is about her special friend, a toad, inspired by the stuffed cane toad from Guatemala in my classroom.
I love Aesop’s story of The Tortoise and The Hare. I have always considered myself to be a tortoise in some ways and I want to encourage others to keep at it too. This version of the story is written as a Spanish embedded reading and includes color illustrations. It is now expanded an available for purchase. There is also a teacher guide to help you teach the story and English embedded readings. See the Products Page for a sample and to get it for your students. We’re all in this together. Keep at the race, mis amigos tortugas.