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Repeating stories - your professional opinion sought

As former or current language teachers, where do we think is the point of greatly diminished returns when it comes to repeating the stories? When students are seeking the highest amount of XP, reading a story over and over again is a quick way to do it. But is it necessarily a waste of time to redo a level 1 story when you’re on, say, level 4 of the story sets?

June 4, 2019

1 Comment


Here is my opinion: Research has shown that the average person needs to see a word seven times before they remember it.

Research has also shown that reading is the best way to learn new vocabulary. (My favorite discussion of how important reading is comes from Bryce Hedstrom, who wrote several short and engaging books for the Spanish classroom.)

Then, I have my personal experience. I have several favorite books, that I have read more than once. Every time I read them, I get something new out of them. I have several favorite movies that I have watched more than once. I still enjoy them.

At the beginning of the year, I tell my students the three secrets to success in language acquisition.

Rule # 1: Repetition is the key to success.

Rule #2: Repetition is the key to success.

Rule #3: Repetition is the key to success.

So my personal belief is to let the students read the same stories over and over again. I also let my students do the same skill over and over again. A lot of the battle is just to keep them practicing consistently, and to keep the cadence of the language in their heads. One really good thing that Duolingo Stories has over the normal tree is that Stories has authentic speakers instead of the robot voices. So I say, let your students repeat, and be happy that they are listening to and reading the language outside of class.

Just my two cents. Duolingo has added some very basic stories in the last two months, and those may be a little too easy (and too boring) for your students. Hopefully your students will self-select. You can give them a lecture about the importance of working at n + 1 if they want to grow. But I really feel that reading something is better than reading nothing.

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