TPR Storytelling Glossary

There are a number of specialized terms that teachers use when talking about TPR Storytelling. Below are some common terms and their explanations.

    Acquisition. This refers to the subconscious process of becoming fluent in a language. This term was popularized by Stephen Krashen, and is often contrasted with language learning, which Krashen uses to refer to the conscious process of learning about a language. He argues that conscious language learning does not result in fluency.

    Barometer or barometer student. This is the student who has the most difficulty understanding the language in any given class, but who is actively trying. Teachers should go slow enough for this student to understand.

    CI - Comprehensible input. This refers to language which the students can understand. In TPR Storytelling, understanding input through listening and reading is the primary process by which students learn.

    Circling. The practice of asking many easy questions about a statement. See the circling section above.

    Four-percenters. The estimated four percent of learners who have managed to become fluent in a second language using traditional methods.

    FVR - Free voluntary reading. This means reading books for pleasure, without deadlines or assessments. See the free voluntary reading section above.

    Home-run story. This is a class story that goes particularly well. It is often a cause for celebration among teachers new to TPR Storytelling.

    Kindergarten day. This is the practice of reading picture books to your students. See the kindergarten day section above.

    Parking. This is when you stay focused on one sentence and get many repetitions of the target vocabulary, rather than moving quickly through the story.

    Passive PMS. This is an outdated way of referring to PQA (Personalized questions and answers).

    PMS - Personalized mini-situation. This refers to the spoken class story of step two.

    Pop-ups or pop-up grammar. This refers to giving very short grammar explanations, usually five seconds or less. See the pop-up grammar section above.

    PQA - Personalized questions and answers. This is the practice of asking questions to the students about their lives using the day's vocabulary structures. It is part of step one.

    Reps - Repetitions. Getting students to listen to many repetitions of the day's target vocabulary is one of the major teaching goals in each TPR Storytelling lesson.

    Staying in bounds. This means only using words that the students know. See the Staying in bounds section above.

    Teach to the eyes. This is the practice of looking in students' eyes when you talk to them, considered essential for building rapport. See the teach to the eyes section above.

    TPR - Total Physical Response. A language teaching method invented by Dr. James Asher where students respond to commands given in the target language.

    TPRS - Teaching Proficiency through Reading and Storytelling. The subject of this article. It is a language teaching method originally based on Total Physical Response, but that has evolved a separate methodology.