Milo and Francesca: A Love Story In the Rain

I wrote this story for my students as part of an effort to get the students more involved with the English that they were learning and to bring out what is fun and interesting about the language. What I do is have them first listen to the story, without reading the text, and, the second time around, have them write down as many keywords as they can catch. The story is written more difficult for them to understand than they would normally encounter in a textbook, so that they must seek out those bits in the listening and subsequent reading that they can identify and comprehend. Over time, repeating this procedure over many classes, they eventually get the hang of listening for keywords, but simultaneously begin to exhibit more and more self-confidence as they realize that they are able to comprehend a lot more than they give themselves credit for. At that point I introduce writing outlines, so that they can create a structure of what they are reading and anticipate what will happen next in the story. Again, repeating this eventually has them reading for longer sequences of content, increasing their reading ability and the amount that they are able to comprehend at one time. Because it is an ongoing story, there is continuity, which also helps them in understanding what they are reading. Many of the students balk, in the beginning, at reading such a long narrative, and often voice exasperation at being induced to do such studies, but in most cases, as the story unfolds and they begin to identify with the characters, their resistance softens, and they begin to look forward to reading the next installment. During one semester when there were a long series of absences and therefore less time to read the chapters, the students protested when I announced that we wouldn’t be able to finish the story. I had to keep the website open so they could read the rest of the story on their own. This has been one of the most satisfying and effective courses that I’ve ever worked with. And a lot of fun, not just in interacting with the students, but in writing the story itself.

1) First Meeting- Milo

2) First Meeting Francesca

3) Out In the Rain- Milo

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