TPRS | Ben Slavic TPRS and Comprehensible Input Training


The Invisibles

By Ben Slavic

This book is currently only available in PDF format.

The Invisibles
Towards a New Curriculum in Language Instruction

Ben describes the “Invisibles” approach:

“This new book completes a trilogy. The first two books in the trilogy are A Natural Approach to
Stories (ANATS) and A Natural Approach to the Year (ANATTY/Year One).

“ANATS (2016) laid out the philosophical underpinnings of a new language curriculum design
based on images of student-created characters. It is a way of teaching languages that I invented
while teaching at the American Embassy School in New Delhi, India in 2015-2016.

“ANATTY (2017) efficiently expanded the ideas presented in A Natural Approach to Stories into
a year-round curriculum.

“The Invisibles (2019) expands on the concepts found in the first two books by focusing on the
unique and powerful Star Sequence Curriculum. This new model of what a WL curriculum is
changes – from the ground up – what we do in our language classrooms.

“The Invisibles was also written in order to clarify some of the rather convoluted information
that has found its way onto the internet about the Invisibles and One Word Images by laying out
how they were originally meant to be used.

Based on Student Created Characters

There is an interchange between the pilot/narrator and the Little Prince in Chapter 2 of Le Petit
Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry. When he first meets the Little Prince, the pilot says:
Narrator: Mais…qu’est-ce que tu fais là?/What are you doing there?

Narrator: Et il me répéta alors, tout doucement, comme une chose très sérieuse/And he repeated
to me, quite softly, as if it were a very serious thing…

Petit Prince: S’il vous plaît…dessine-moi un mouton/Please…draw me a sheep…
The Little Prince asked the pilot to draw him something! That incredible relationship - the stuff
of legend in the literary tradition of France - didn’t start out with words. It started out with a
child wanting a drawing from an adult. 

Children are interested in images, especially ones that they themselves have created. Invisibles
are characters invented and drawn by students and the star sequence is how we use them in

When we spin such characters into existence in the way that Saint-Exupéry did in Le Petit
Prince, the usually closed gates of student engagement suddenly open wide. The students, fully
immersed in the zany details and interesting peculiarities of the characters they have created,
forget that they are in a class in which they are supposed to be “learning” and they lock onto the
messages being conveyed about the drawing.

We all know that the only thing we have to do to be effective at language teaching is to create
ways of really engaging our students in the target language. That’s the trick to be found in this

More Reviews and Comments for The Invisibles

“There are many new ideas and strategies in here that aren’t in ANATTY.”
Sarah Gibson

“Your books provide an instructional routine that I can count on to get me through a class period, but with much lower stress levels than before…”.
Lillian Smith

“Honestly, what you've written is about 5 times more advanced than what I had in my mind of what TPRS could be at its best!!”
Robin Ann Martin

“The Star Sequence is amazingly intuitive and allows new people to CI, those with the deer-in-the-headlights look on their faces, to chill out. The concept is solid. The star sequence itself is a fabulous support graphic.”
Alisa Shapiro-Rosenberg

“I love thinking about the invisibles, they are true genius.”
Carly Edelman

“This book should be the ‘go to’ book for new learners and older ones alike.”
Laura Avila

“I need to understand the entire picture. Your books get into the nuts and bolts and from what I've read so far they explain all aspects of the topics from top to bottom. Exactly what I was looking for.”
Daniel Prosseda

I’m so excited! I’ve been trying to figure out so much and your PLC has been a godsend this year!”
Jenna Engelbreit

“You have broken down the process of teaching with comprehensible input to its very minimal elements so as to make it easy to grasp - even for the person who is completely new to CI. This is the book for the complete beginner.”
Laura Avila

“Intoxicating is the best word for it that I see in this book. It's like the gin and tonic of teaching. A person drinks when they have anxiety. I have teaching-teenagers anxiety and your materials are helping me to sooth it.”
Robin Martin