I have such gratitude for having the chance to work with and learn from Blaine Ray. When I was officially trained in TPRS after going to the National TPRS Conference, I started using chapter 1 of Mini-stories for Look, I Can Talk. I later found out that Cuento del gato was a “famous” mini-story going back to the original Look, I Can Talk book published with Dr. James Asher in 1987. That story taught me, and I think many others, the importance of emphasizing high frequency words, using student actors and dialogue, reading and discussing, and how to do A LOT with a little.
In the fall of 2017, I presented the TPRS Books team with an idea to create a graded reader on Bart wanting a cat. I observed that Blaine’s mini-story from decades earlier seemed to have inspired Karen Rowan’s wonderful, Las Aventuras de Isabela and Carol Gaab’s awesome, Brandon Brown quiere un perro…not sure if it is true but just my observation.
I was thrilled to share the idea with the super creative, brilliant, kind, and talented Señor Jordan. Once we put in place some basic ideas about the story being a Choose Your Own Adventure style book, the whirlwind of creating the story took off. I felt like I was in the passenger seat of the Señor Jordan writing bus with a GPS headed towards INPUT CITY. It was a lot of fun to create together!
The end product is an amazing story with under 70 unique words and hundreds of cognates that tap into learner prior knowledge. This book is close to being what the brilliant Mira Canion wrote with 55 unique words in Capibara con botas. The artwork by Juan Carlos Pinilla Melo (of Señor Wooly fame) in this story makes for a great student experience, as well.
What is most exciting is that teachers and students are responding with rave reviews to teaching this as a class story. The Bart Simpli-guide that is FREE at TPRS Books is making it easy for all to use, too. With any luck this reader will be in multiple languages for fall classes. Currently, it is available in Spanish and French. Coming in May will be German and Italian.