Recycling is allowing words and phrases to repeat naturally in a story or text. Sometimes we can apply a little intentionality to the stories and words we choose to use recycling to our advantage.
Recycling targets is appropriate for beginners but should be done with caution. Do not test students on targets and never pressure yourself to “teach” recycled targets for mastery (targeting 1).
Here is an example of the first two weeks of stories for true beginners. Very quickly, I found this level of planning was unnecessary. With each story, cast an increasingly wider “net” and let recycling happen more and more naturally.
Nontargeted recycling occurs naturally through narrow listening and reading.
Use students’ interests to find one type of story or book and stick with it for a while. Spend a few weeks telling Greek myths and the words “god,” “causes,” “earth,” and “sky” will recycle. Then, move on to “prince,” “princess,” “spell,” and “castle.” Operas/tragic love, knight’s quests, creation stories, Aesop fables, trickster stories, tall tales, etc. each have a set of words that naturally recycle. Academic language will be naturally included in narrow reading (Krashen 2004, 4).
One important consideration for shared oral stories is that when students can not simply put a book down, the teacher should be ready to abandon any story or type of story if interest wanes.
Krashen, S. (1996.) The case for narrow listening. System 24(1): 97-100. Accessed at: http://sdkrashen.com/content/articles/the_case_for_narrow_listening.pdf