The announcement that I am making today is one of the most exciting in the five year history of I Will Teach You A Language!
It's actually been over two years since I first hinted at this on the podcast, but today is the day when the project finally sees the light of day… and I can reveal all!
The video announcement, which I made in a live broadcast, is at the top of this post.
Alternatively, if you’re short for time, just click here to cut to the chase.
But if you’re interested in hearing the full story behind this announcement, and what I'll be showing you today, read on… (it’s quite fun!)
It Started With A Cryptic Message
It was all quite strange, you see.
It began with a phone call, back in 2016. Actually, no — it was a Facebook message!
(Why would someone choose Facebook to send me such an important message?)
Funny thing is, since Sarah and I weren’t “friends”, the message ended up in my “other” folder … and I didn’t see it!
So…I didn’t reply.
After a few weeks had elapsed, I saw the message and got in touch with Sarah, who told me she was interested in talking to me about my “readers”.
That strange, I thought. Why is she interested in the readers of my blog?
Usually people are more interested in the blog itself!
Curious, I met Sarah for a chat in Central London.
We took the lift up to the cafe on the sixth floor. After admiring the view, Sarah sat me down and explained what she meant…
Turns out when Sarah used the word “readers”, she didn't mean the readers of my blog.
She actually meant my graded readers – or “my books of short stories”, as I usually call them!
With that confusion cleared up, we began to chat about my books:
- where I got the idea for the short story books
- how I produced them
- the plans I had for the series
I explained that I would love to develop the series out into lots of languages, because there are plenty of underserved languages out there which are screaming out for good-quality material.
However, there were a number of logistical challenges, such as Amazon Kindle not supporting a lot of languages, and the expertise necessary to work in languages that I don't know.
At that point, Sarah suggested she might be able to help.
I suppose I should tell you who Sarah is.
Sarah is publishing director of Teach Yourself in the UK, one of the world's foremost publishers of language learning courses.
If you've ever set foot in a language bookshop, you'll recognise the distinctive yellow logo!
They've been creating language books since 1938, and the branding is recognisable over 80 years on. Have a look at this Arabic course from 1943:
We were both excited by the prospect of what we'd be able to achieve by working together on my books, and developing it out into a world-leading series in multiple languages.
For me personally, it was an incredible opportunity to reach far more people than I already do, and produce material that can help many more learners than I'm currently able to reach benefit from the story-based method that I'm so passionate about.
And so began an extremely exciting two years, working together with Teach Yourself to transform the books of short stories that I had begun myself into something that will soon be found all over the world…
From America to Brazil, from China to New Zealand.
Two Years of Development Work on Short Stories for Beginners
The following two years were quite surreal… and a considerable amount of work!
Of course, the fantastic thing about working with a publisher of the size Teach Yourself, is that you get to work with some of the world's most talented editors and linguists.
(And we have taken full advantage of that's amazing asset, let me assure you!!!)
A whirlwind of meetings and emails followed… coffees, donuts at Tim Horton’s in Montreal, conference calls, more emails, and a bottle of prosecco in London not long ago.
(All happening behind-the-scenes, of course. Almost no-one knew what was going on.)
And it all culminates in the exciting announcement that…
The brand new edition of my Short Stories for Beginners are now available for order!
To find out more about exactly which books we're releasing…
Along with $777 of free language courses that are up for grabs…
About The New Editions
If you are new to my series of short story books, you might be interested to know what they are all about.
In a nutshell, I created these books because I wanted to help beginners start to experience the benefits of reading in their target language.
I'm sure you know what it's like as a beginner in a new language, when you start to get the urge to read more interesting content….
With your motivation sky-high, you take the plunge and buy a book (perhaps a novel) in the language. By the time you've reached the end of page 1, though, you've pretty much given up.
- Too many difficult words.
- Sentences as long as your arm.
- Grammar that confuses you.
You spend longer with your head in a dictionary than in the book itself!
It's demotivating, frustrating, and potentially damaging.
So you stop reading your book, and go back to the comfort and safety of your learner textbooks.
NO! – I say.
As Stephen Krashen says, you need to read.
So what I wanted to create was a “stepping stone” — something that you can read, understand and enjoy, even as a relative beginner.
All the benefits of reading, with none of the frustration.
So with my books of short stories, I have created fun enjoyable stories that are accessible to you from a high-beginner level (A2-B1 on the CEFR).
You could call it the “Duolingo” stage — you know a few words, but you can't do anything useful with the language.
With these books of short stories, you can:
- Expand your vocabulary from context
- Learn grammar naturally
- Use the language in a meaningful activity that helps you become more independent
My Short Stories for Beginners series gives you – finally – an easy, accessible way to break out of beginner level in whatever language you are learning.
What’s the deal with the new Short Stories for Beginners books?
Today we are releasing six books in the following languages:
And, excitingly, the addition of a brand-new language…
You can find the full details of these books including what makes them great, and previews or all the new artwork on this page.
For Owners Of Earlier Editions:
Please read this section if you already own an earlier version of these books.
We have done a great deal to improve the books from the first editions, such as:
- One brand new story (so there's something new for owners of original editions)
- Smaller, more compact paperback size, so you can carry the paperback in even the smallest bags, and keep reading – any time, anywhere.
- Re-editing of texts to include the 1,000 most frequent words in each language, so you can learn the most important vocabulary of all.
- Beautiful hand-drawn illustrations which bring the stories to life and make what you read more memorable.
Interactive app so you can read, listen and learn all at the same time…at home or on the go!
- Supplementary teaching materials for teachers who want a quick, easy, and engaging supplementary materials for their lessons. (Coming soon)
- Brand new audio recordings to accompany the new editions, so you can improve your listening skills as you read! (Sold separately)
However, please note that, with the exception of the one new story, the other 7 stories are the same in the old editions.
Why Should You Upgrade To New Editions? (777 reasons)
It's a fair question!
I recognise that you might not be interested in purchasing new editions if you already own an original!
But at the same time, I'd like to ask for your support with this project.
So, for those of you who would like to support me in ordering these books, I decided to put together a valuable “thank you” package:
Everyone who orders books during this pre-order period will receive a valuable bonus package of free language courses, worth up to $777!
It's my way of thanking you for your support, and also giving you freebies from some of the best language Learning providers on the Internet.
To find out more about the bonuses, and details of the offer, please visit this page, which has full details of the books, and how to order from your level Amazon store.
Thank You For Your Support!
When I first started I Will Teach You A Language, I never would have guessed that I would be lucky enough to create a product that will now reach language learners both online and in local bookshops across the world.
I'm extremely grateful to be in this position, and I'm looking forward just as much to everything we have planned in the next stage.
This “next stage” will take time, but we are committed to bringing this material to the world in many new, and underserved languages, and there will be more news about this next year.
For now, I would like to thank you for all your support, and all your interaction with me over the years.
It's your enthusiasm for learning languages which helps me come up with the ideas that you see here today.
Oh – and one last thing…
I would like to send you a postcard.
To find out how, visit the bonus section on the Short Stories for Beginners book page.
Do you have any questions or comments about the new books? Please let me know below!