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Storylistening: Beniko Mason and Steve Krashen

Storylistening: Beniko Mason and Steve Krashen

July 30, 2021

Dear WinkWorld Readers,

Once upon a time in a faraway land, I was a professor who lived and breathed language acquisition for decades–first as a Spanish teacher and later as a professor in multilingual/multicultural teacher education.  Now, my world is primarily filled with kids, cows, and computers.  However, I try to keep up with my professional reading/thinking  as it relates to biliteracy, but I know that I am now more focused on literacy.  Yes, biliteracy and literacy are related, but that is a story for another time.

Storytelling and Storylistening

The world of storytelling and storylistening links my personal and my professional interests.  So much exciting research is taking place to enhance our understanding of storytelling and storylistening.  Many of you are aware of the long rich tradition of storytelling around the world.  Happily, it is enjoying a renewed emphasis in the last few decades as researchers learn more about the literacy and cognitive benefits. 

Teach me the facts, and I can memorize them and do well on a test–however, I will forget those facts sooner or later–but, if you can tell me a compelling story about those facts, I won’t forget it.

In addition to storytelling, storylistening is also developing rapidly–thanks to the research of Beniko Mason and Stephen Krashen.  In what follows, I am sharing some of their findings.  If you are interested, you will find videos of their work-in-action with a simple fast search on your web browser.  Thank you, Professors Mason and Krashen for sharing with us.

Meet Stephen D. Krashen and Beniko Mason

What storylistening is:

It is often used to help students acquire an additional language–for example in a foreign language or a bilingual class.  I have no experience with it also being used in English-only classrooms with only English-dominant students, but I am wondering about this.  I look forward to hearing from any of you who has that type of experience.

Storylistening is told with a strategy called Comprehension-Aiding Supplementation, and the idea is that the teacher throws a wide net of language (mostly comprehensible input, plus a bit more) for subconscious language acquisition. The method requires neither output, nor homework.

What storylistening is not:

It is not a teacher simply reciting a memorized story.

The Optimal Input Hypothesis

I am posting two articles  by Krashen and Mason regarding The Promise of Optimal Input. For those of us in language acquisition, we now learn that Not All Comprehensible Input is of Equal Value.

Click HERE 

Click HERE.

And, here is dear Steve Krashen sharing on a video about the Optimal Input Hypothesis. Thank you to CI-Re-boot, 6.28.21. On this video, Steve also shares about his first cup of coffee, the influence of his mom, his travels, his love of languages,  linguistics, the mystery of immersion (a must-listen), and the Input Hypothesis.  This is such a great Big Picture chat about languages, and he shares a fun historical peak into language acquisition. 
If you have been confused about the difference between comprehensible input and optimal input, you will find this very compelling….
The video of Stephen Krashen, plus translation in sign language.  Click HERE.
I also recommend, Immersion Assumption
Learn more about Beniko Mason  on her webpages. Both professors are very active and share wonderful resources on social media.
Stephen Krashen  on Twitter is always a great read.  Here is one, which I particularly liked, which speaks to the value of storytelling.
In addition, be sure to check-out Story-Listening and Guided Self-Selected Reading on FaceBook, which Beniko maintains.
I have noticed in my research of storylistening that it is sometimes spelled as one word, sometimes two words, and sometimes a hyphenated word.  I have no idea how it will eventually be spelled.  This is a natural process of how words emerge and come to be  spelled and understood.  It is sort of like little kids with their “inventive spelling,” which is another fascinating area to research.
Below is a photo of a treasured piece of art which a dear friend/colleague sent to me as a surprise gift. I see the storyteller and the story listeners. Thank you, Marje Kaiser!

The Adventures of Scruffy

For those of you following the adventures of Scruffy, our little reader, he finally arrived in New York City with his friend, Sacramento Susan.  Of course, his first stop was the famed lions out in front of the New York Public Library.

I just finished reading and loving “The Lions of Fifth Avenue” by Fiona Davis, so Scruffy and I took turns storytelling and storylistening.



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