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FREE TPRS Resources For Spanish Learners (+ What is TPRS?)

Let your Duolingo streak die! It’s over with these obsolete, time-sucking junk lessons. You came here searching for TPRS resources because you know something that A TON of Spanish learners don’t.

I welcome you to step out of the matrix and into the language learning fast track. Okay not really, but these resources will definitely take your skills to the next level quicker than Duolingo.

Let’s jump right into the topic of today - Where to find FREE TPRS Resources to Learn Spanish.

What Does TPRS Stand For?

TPRS stands for “Teaching Proficiency through Reading and Storytelling." This method of learning includes listening to a story in the target language, and the speaker can use their body to express words that are unknown to the learner.

TPRS has taken off over the last decade. This has created a better environment for new language learners to progress quickly. Personally, I studied Chinese for only 2 months with TPRS, and I still remember a decent amount of vocabulary that it taught me - which is pretty impressive to me.

What is TPRS exactly?

TPRS is a method of teaching languages that utilizes drawing, slow speech, and sometimes body movements to teach a language.

The method traditionally maintains the whole lesson in the target language.

However, sometimes words are written in the learner's native language, especially to indicate tenses (such as - past/present/future).

The main idea of TPRS is - no matter what the level of the learner is, to make a lesson comprehensible to them in the target language.

man teaching a class

The History of TPRS (Inspirational Story)

TPRS was developed in the 1990s by Blaine Ray, a Spanish teacher from California who was fired from his job for lack of performance by his students.

Blaine was inspired by the TPR (Total Physical Response) method created by James Asher in 1980.

TPR was a method that Asher would use with his students where he would perform an action or make a movement with his body that represented a word.

Blaine Ray Notices The Shortcomings of TPR

Ray saw that this was working better than anything he had previously tried with students, but he also saw the shortcomings - such as not being able to demonstrate if a word was in the past tense, future, imperfect past, etc.

Blaine enjoyed drawing and decided to try drawing stories for students and writing a word every here and there to indicate a tense that he was using in Spanish.

From Kicked Out - To Big Clout (The Beginning of TPRS Fame)

After teaching his method for some years. Blaine was at a teaching conference with a student. He demonstrated his method and the lesson was well enjoyed by the audience.

But one man asked, “Yeah, so she understood, but can this method teach her to speak though?”

Blaine asked the girl - “Do you know the story Red Riding Hood?” and she said, “Yes, but not in Spanish”.

Blaine convinced her to try and translate it into Spanish for the crowd, and she did.

Everybody clapped and one said “I have never heard an AP Spanish Student speak so well!” and the girl said… “Thanks, but I’m not AP, I’m only in my second year.”

How is TPRS Taught?

TPRS mainly is taught with a whiteboard, pictures, and picture books. My favorite style of learning with TPRS is with a whiteboard and a native Speaker of my target language.

I’ll give you an example lesson of TPRS below so you can see how it works for complete beginners.

demonstration #1 of TPRS Lesson

So for this example, it starts by trying to show how to use the word "This" and "Is" in Spanish

demonstration #2 of TPRS Lesson

Then using imagery that describes a question, even without knowing Spanish, it's quite easy to see that the question is "What does zorro mean?" or simplified "Zorro = ?"

demonstration #3 of TPRS Lesson

Now we know, zorro is not a dog (which is told to us in Spanish) - so now we know the word in Spanish for dog + how to say "something is something"

demonstration #4 of TPRS Lesson

Now we quickly learned the word for a fox and a dog. How to say (something) is (something), how to say (something) is not (something).

And these things were taught all in Spanish, in a way that somebody who knows no vocab in Spanish would be able to understand.

FREE TPRS Resources

After hearing the story about how TPRS was created, you would think that this would be a mainstream way of learning.

Unfortunately, there are many more channels dedicated to inferior techniques, and the amount of good free TPRS resources for Spanish learners are far and few in-between.

However, after hours of searching, here are the best FREE TPRS Resources I found.

2 Best TPRS YouTube Channels (Highly Recommended!)

I was going to try and give you 5 of the best channels, but what’s the point you know? These two will have more than enough content than you can consume - and after these top 2, the drop-off is huge.

That is to say, these guys are kick-ass, but the third best channel for TPRS that I would give you would be super low-quality content. So without further ado, The 2 BEST TPRS YouTube Channels!

Dreaming Spanish: The #1 Pick For TPRS In Spanish

Dreaming Spanish is a YouTube channel that originally started as a one-man band, but lately, the founder has let other people step in.

screenshot of the Dreaming Spanish Youtube Channel

This youtube channel has almost 1,000 videos that are packed full of comprehensible input!

This is the perfect place to be whether you’re a beginner learning your first words, intermediate climbing up the ranks, or advanced and looking to acquire the BIG words.

Spanish with Alma: The #2 Pick For TPRS In Spanish

Spanish with Alma really takes the #2 spot with her super helpful TPRS lessons. She shows the traditional method of TPRS by essentially using electronic whiteboard software.

Screenshot of the Spanish with Alma YouTube Channel

As she draws characters and nouns she teaches us how to say them in Spanish and does a wonderful job at making materials that even complete beginners can understand.

The 2 Best Website With FREE TPRS Resources

I searched long and hard and couldn’t find many websites with free TPRS resources. If you go on a search yourself you’ll see a lot of people who say they offer these resources for free, but… it’s just clickbait.

So here are the best (and only) websites that I could find with free TPRS resources!

The TPT Catalog - The Holy Grail For A Teacher

This is a super nice website for Spanish Teachers who want to give TPRS a try, or just need new ideas. This is an archive of TPRS lessons - all put together and ready to go. As a student, you should also definitely utilize these if you want some super easy stories to read.

Screenshot of the TPT TPRS Archive

Snappy Spanish - The Holy Grail For Independent Learners

This website does an incredible job of providing us with a plethora of options. The link that I gave you will take you to their website and goes directly to one of my favorite stories.

The story is narrated by a man who is getting away with a robbery. It’s dense with vocab and piques the interest at the same time.

Screenshot showing how Snappy Spanish Stories look like

If you are a complete beginner this might be a little bit difficult, but rest assured if you read it once a day, soon you will know all the words like the palm of your hand.

How Often Should I Use TPRS To Study?

As a language learner who has dived into many languages and spent thousands of hours learning languages - I recommend that this accounts for 25-50% of the beginner learning stages (if you find that you benefit from this technique.)

Not everybody can enjoy the same learning materials, so if this isn’t the method for you, don't worry, they are many others I talk about on this website.

To give some examples of other ways that might be better for you: Learning with Music, The Learn While Driving Method, and this list I created of the 11 best ways to learn Spanish which covers many other ways to approach learning Spanish.

At the end of the day what keeps you coming back is most important, don't do something that you hate.

Conclusion: What is TPRS And Where To Find Free Resources For Spanish Learners

TPRS stands for “Teaching Proficiency through Reading and Storytelling. It's a technique that can be utilized by teachers to create a completely comprehensive classroom setting, while only speaking in the target language.

The best YouTube channels with TPRS videos to learn Spanish are - Dreaming Spanish (Top Pick) and Spanish With Alma.

If you are a teacher or just want to see if the resources suit your learning style check out The TPT Catalog where tons of FREE PowerPoint-style presentations are available with TPRS lessons.

And if you are looking for FREE TPRS Stories with engaging topics and translations included, check out Snappy Spanish. I hope this all helped you out!

If you want to learn my 11 favorite methods to learn a language for free, check out my article “11 Free Methods to Master Spanish at Home: A Comprehensive Guide for Self-Learners”.

If you have any questions, concerns, or suggestions shoot me a message here on the website and I would love to hear it!

Have a wonderful day and learn a lot!

- Benjamin George


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