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Personalizing Novels in the TPRS® Classroom

A great way to build a positive classroom culture is through the use of personalization in class. There are various entry points to personalization in the classroom such as, a TPRS® story, meme, movie, clip, news article, etc., in this post we will be giving ideas about personalizing with a TPRS® novel.

Before you teach a novel, consider reading through ahead of your classes and look for any situations or themes that you could compare and contrast with your students’ lives. If needed, write those questions down and have them ready during class. 

Some things to consider when personalizing:

  • anything can be a springboard for personalizing with your students
  • ask questions that you want to know the answer to, or else students can see through it
  • ask questions that focus on communication and learning about students’ lives

Here are some other ideas to consider when using Personalized Questions in your novel discussions.

Personalized Questions can be asked before a chapter.

This is done to build connections before reading and prepare the students’ minds for what types of content will be in the chapter. It is meant to build their interest by establishing connections to the material ahead of time. For example, if a chapter were about riding on a train, then talking to students about who has ever ridden on a train beforehand would prepare them for the chapter and the context to enrich their reading experience.

Personalized Questions can be asked during a chapter.

This can be done to build connections with the characters and the novel so that it resonates with students. It also might be a break from reading for students to focus on something more important to many of them (themselves).

Personalized Questions can be asked after a chapter.

When you are talking about the chapter and reviewing the information, you can compare and contrast what happened to the characters with your students and their lives.

Personalized Questions can be fictional.

When you are asking your students about their lives, there are times that they will embellish for fun. It’s ok to go along with this (if you’re comfortable to) because it is still bringing their interests into the fantasy world of class and is honoring them.


Personalized Questions can take the place of the novel.

There might be times when you are reading and then start asking some personalized questions and the class seems very interested and engaged in the discussion. As long as the discussion is interesting, you can always go back to the book. Consider not having to “finish” a chapter. If our job is to provide R.I.C.H. input to our students, whether that be in a conversation or a novel, follow the engagement for your lesson.

Personalized Questions can introduce any new language.

If you need to use the present perfect tense or the subjunctive, just make sure it’s comprehensible and repetitive. The things that teachers think are hard can actually be attainable for students when we, as teachers, follow the basic skills of TPRS® (circling, pointing and pause, going slowly, choral response & staying in- bounds). 

Read low, Personalize high.

So you love a book but realize it’s too easy for your students. Then read the book anyway and use it as an opportunity to personalize with your students. Use higher level language to personalize with them with whatever language they still need robust input in!


Now go, read a TPRS® novel with your classes and PERSONALIZE away!



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