Testimonials for the New Book

A Natural Approach to the Year (2017-18) is a sequel to A Natural Approach to Stories (2016). It is basically how I spent most of my time over the past year and a half. After six previous books over the past twelve years, these two books represent my best efforts and deepest thinking. They reflect what I currently think about how comprehensible input is best utilized in our classrooms. Both books were co-authored by the incomparable Tina Hargaden. Tina is the real inspiration on this newest book. The name of the books is of course an homage to Krashen, who called A Natural Approach to Stories “clever” and “important” after reading it in 2016.
In this post I would like to share what people are saying about the last A Natural Approach to the Year:
Danae Clohan: 24 years of teaching the “same old way”. Until I read “A Natural Approach”! With just a few days left in the school year I am already changing up my teaching ways. And just watch out for next year! CI here I come! Thank you for the inspiration!
Ky Pinkerton: I started with “A Natural Approach to Stories” and some of the “Bite Size” books. They are all such awesome resources! However, the new book “A Natural Approach to the Year” is the best CI book you’ll read! It takes you through the entire year with lesson plans, assessment ideas, activities, and the reasons and research supporting CI. It is perfect for anyone interested in starting CI or anyone who has a foothold but needs ideas. I’m currently doing the library book project and my students are having fun, being creative and, most importantly, working with Spanish to show what they’ve learned. I also love the rubrics included in the book, which have re-shaped my attitude towards assessment, and the Word Chunk Team Game, which has helped establish and develop community in the majority of classes.
Janice Vantresco: We all need to start somewhere and the Natural Approach is just that . . .THE natural approach to success in CI.
Ashley DePutron: When I decided to dive head first into CI, I had no idea where to begin. The Natural Approach to the Year was the exact resource I needed! It provided me with the “why” whenever I was doubting myself and definitely gave me to “how”. It was like having a teacher on speed dial whenever I needed it. I know that my teaching will be better because of reading this book!
Julie Grose Carter: I LOVE the book! It answered so many of my CI questions and has guided me through the non targeted process. I now understand and have implemented OWI’S and the different strategies that support them my kids love my class and I truly believe it’s because of your book….the class is about them and they love learning Spanish!
Jamie Demson Honke: Not only is this book practical, it’s a godsend. I am in my 8th year teaching and it’s my first full year attempting CI with students. I’m also the Department Chair for our World Language Department. It is difficult to help my new teachers with methods when we have little time to collaborate and really hone our practice. The Natural Approach book has a very straightforward approach to helping teachers adapt to the style. It answers everything, from classroom management to planning, and even includes what to do when you just can’t and need a break. I’m telling my new teachers to read it as a guide. In fact, yesterday one of our new teachers asked me how I was able to get my students to pay attention to me so quickly, and I directed him to the book (the whole section about the stand and pause, and walk over to the rules). I plan to use this book as a guide for myself and my new teachers next year! It’s great!
Ben Fisher: I gathered a PLC of some teachers in my district who were interested in CI, but had no idea where to start. I knew I was sold, but they weren’t so sure. They are OBSESSED with learning about CI now! We are using the book for a book study, and are feeling so prepared to start next year off strong in a proficiency-oriented vein that will make our students so happy. The book shares fail-proof systems that make trying this new thing so comfortable. I learn something new every time I reread. I hope this will one day be the standard desk reference for teachers new to non-targeted CI that revolutionizes how language is taught across the world. It’s that good. So many resources, and a community online to back it up! Prepare to be welcomed into a happier, more effective way of sharing the languages you love.
Christine M McCormick: I LOVED a Natural Approach to the Year. I have dabbled in CI, but felt overwhelmed at times and not sure what to do next. My students struggled with stories about animals and famous people and didnt really buy in. The day i had to teach physical characteristics, we created an enchilada. And darned if they didnt know every detail about him 2 months later when we created his family. The step by step approach is so useful and I could not be happier with the results I am seeing after a short time of implemention. Thank you for this amazing resource.
Jen Tovar: I have loved having a go to book to answer all of my questions. I started dabbling this year and was really overwhelmed and not sure if I was on track or not. The Natural Approach has been a Godsend. I feel much more confident and my students are much happier. Thank you so much for putting this together.
Laurie Wright Barry: We are changing to a proficiency-oriented curriculum, with big topics and essential questions. We were feeling stuck for a while, but watched seminars from Comprehensible Online, and listened to Tina’s advice and enthusiasm. I bought The Natural Approach to the year, shared ideas with my department, and little by little I’m getting them hooked. I’ve never seen them more excited about teaching until now. And, my assistant superintendent is buying more copies so we can all have one, and Tina might come help us as a consultant next year! My department is invigorated! Thank you!
Laura Murphy: This book just confirmed how I have felt about teaching since forever. I never liked the grammar approach and many times found TPRS to not fit my mentality or my students’ interests. This has been an exciting year now that I have “permission” to teach what the kids want to learn. Free at last! Free at last!
Jessica Oelke: This book has changed not only my life but the lives of my students as well. We are all happier with our time together in the classroom using the strategies laid out in Tina and Ben’s book. The book literally is like a peace and tranquility manual for using CI in the classroom!
Amy Hatchner: This book creates a safe zone for embarking on a scary but necessary journey! Thank you!
Tina N. Mallén: The Natural Approach to the Year is an amazing tool! I have it right there when I need it! Tina and Ben have really thought through every step and included every technique imaginable to help us teachers get through to our kids. My students are really using the language so much more than before!
Larra Danielle: This book is the answer to a question I didn’t even know I was asking. Implementing some of these strategies, even in the second part of the year, has helped me connect with students more than I ever have! Students are lit up, and Spanish is radiating from them!

Cole Vance: This book has changed my life and encouraged me to continue to teach. I think I finally will not hear.. All I remember from Spanish class is… Thank you! Thank you! My students tell me stories on a regular basis how they use their Spanish outside of the classroom.
Mi La: A Natural Approach to the Year and CI are the only reason teaching is so much fun for me/students! They are the reason I am going to continue to teach after telling myself 14 years ago that I wouldn’t teach again! The book is full of amazing material that will equip a teacher to successfully incorporate CI activities to their foreign language classes! The book even helps “new” teachers like me! I had taught English as a Foreign Language in Brazil from 2000-2004 and since January I teach French (as a foreign language) in the USA. I have been doing CI activities for half a period since I started teaching again 4 months ago and I am so looking forward to just teaching with CI next year with all my five groups of middle and high school!!!!!!! My students (who until last December were using a textbook) absolutely fell in LOVE with creating invisible characters, creating stories, acting them out, illustrating their own stories…they also feel like they have LEARNED so much since I started with CI. They also love calendar/weather talk, card talk and write & discuss (which are all CI activities described in the book) because they make them feel SUCCESSFUL a) when they can understand me when I’m speaking only in the target language and b) when they are able to communicate in the target language! A Natural Approach to the Year is like having Ben and Tina on your desk 24h/7. Love it!
Stephanie Conner Mignone: Why would a seasoned teacher eligible for retirement decide to keep going another five or seven or ten years? CI is why! A Natural Approach to the Year lays out the stepping stones for new and experienced teachers alike to run a proficiency based program founded on brain-based best practices leading to stunning results (and here’s the important part) WITHOUT overwhelming or overworking students or teachers. I have always known teaching could be like this. Make it The Natural Approach to Your Year!
Sharon Hayes Hampton: Have you ever wondered why students can’t communicate or remember anything after multiple years of traditional language study? This book answers that and more. It is a perfect mix of theory and practical suggestions. New to CI or not, you will learn some new tricks for our trade.
Mary-Fred Bausman-Watkins: As we get to the end of the year and most days are taken up with book project work, I let the kids vote for which activity they really want to revisit before the end of the year. High on the list for both German 1 and 2 was One Word Image. “We haven’t created a new character in soooo long” sighed one student. So just this week we introduced Eduardo from Ecuador who is a rainbow fish with fabulously muscular legs and tiny feet who rocked the Met Gala in fabulous shoes. Eduardo is a one name sensation, besties with Claudia Schiffer and Gisela Bündchen and outfitted by Ferragamo. This way of teaching just grows with the kids and creates such ownership of the class.
James Mauer: I offer four testimonials here:
(1) As a typically left brain person, the concept of teaching through comprehensible input scared and intrigued me.  I’d prefer Roman numeral outlines to concept maps any day.  A Natural Approach to the Year not only lays out the research that shows comprehensible input as a superior instructional method, but gives even “uncreative” instructors such as myself the tools, strategies, and support needed to incorporate comprehensible input into their classrooms.  The book has well defined lessons, management ideas, and justifications that will assist any teacher in moving towards CI Instruction.  I began mid-year with the calendar talk activity and have seen comprehension and motivation improve almost immediately.
(2) I implemented calendar talk and short stories in my classroom mid-year and saw immediate improvements in the comprehension and motivation of my students.  They have moved beyond learning word for word and have begun to read for context and comprehension.  A Natural Approach to the Year lays out the research that shows comprehensible input as a superior instructional method, and gives instructors the tools, strategies, and support needed to incorporate comprehensible input into their classrooms.  The book has well defined lessons, management ideas, and justifications that will assist any teacher in moving towards CI Instruction.
(3) A Natural Approach to the Year guides instructors in shifting away from classic drill-and-kill memorization and moves towards using multiple senses to create meaningful learning more in line with how we learned our first languages.  This easy to read book outlines rationale and strategies for teachers implementing comprehensible input while also providing moral support and motivation to undergo such a pedagogical shift.
(4) I loved A Natural Approach to the Year.  It has changed how I have viewed delivery of content.  Material is delivered mirroring natural language acquisition of children and creates a feeling of teamwork and camaraderie between teacher and students on a journey together as opposed to memorized lists, tests, and quizzes.  Also, even after 10 years of certified teaching it changed my approach to classroom management.  No longer do I engage in power struggles.  This book is sure to become standard reading for not just languages but all content areas.



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