The biggest problem with TPRS has always been that they tell you try to use the novels too early, before all of your students have had enough auditory input to be able to properly read.
When I say problem I mean “problem for me”. I’m sure there are many teachers for whom TPRS goes really well. But my goal has always been to simplify it and make it work for those few like me who just get hamstrung with it by targeting (the main problem for me), the novels, etc.
A spin-off problem w the novels has been that kids with strong reading backgrounds, usually white kids from good suburban schools, have the effect of unintentionally splitting the class between those who can read and those who struggle.
It’s not about intelligence. It’s about social class. It’s about poverty vs. opportunity. My biggest regret when I was doing TPRS was that those classes were structured in such a way, that is, not in alignment with Krashen and original Blaine Ray, that favored kids of privilege.
My main point of focus since I started doing CI in 2001 has been in rectifying the gap. Finally, now 18 years later, I’ve figured it out w the Invisibles.
One of the reasons for the gap is those terrible novels. They suck for kids who struggle to read in English.
I remember when the advice given to teachers “if they wanted to make a lot of money” was to write really simple novels, way below the level of Houdini, which is really a second year text at best. There weren’t any really simple novels, for a long time.
So people wrote a bunch of them at a really simple level (Brandon Wants a Dog, etc.) but they were not accessible to the kids who came from poverty even then.
Why not avoid dividing classes down sociall and economic lines and just have the kids read what they create? Since they have heard and recognize the sounds and what they mean in Phase 1 of the Created phase, they can read bc that’s HOW people learn to read, by sounding out words they already know by sound.
It’s a lot more fair to the kids who struggle to read, because they have contextualized sound in their heads from the Create phase, and when they arrive in Phase 4 they can participate because they are on an equal playing as their more privileged counterparts. This is not true w the novels.
If you must target do so in Phase 4 on the star sequence, the reading phase.