City Stories - The Next Big Thing for Reading Comprehension Exercises?

Written by teacher Jasmina, Excalibur Language School

I had the opportunity to attend the ADRIES 2022 conference where I heard about City Stories - an exciting project designed to help students achieve some of their language learning goals through reading captivating and engaging stories. After I found out the project is based on the “escape room” concept, I knew I had to give it a go.

So, I headed to the City Stories app and started working on my own story. Although coming up with a unique story took me some time, I wanted to make sure my students found it interesting. The last thing I wanted to do is test a potentially great app with a dull story. Once I had the outline of the story, it was time to put the app to the ultimate test and see whether the platform truly does what it claims to do.

I must admit, I was skeptical at first simply because I know just how much students dislike reading comprehension activities, and motivating them to do one is always a challenge. However, City Stories didn’t disappoint, to say the least.

The first thing I noticed was flexibility. Since the tool is so versatile, the possibilities are endless. Not only does City Stories allow teachers to come up with unique stories tailored to their curriculum, but it also enables them to choose from a variety of different types of exercise, including multiple-choice, gap-fill, scrambled text, matching, and several others. As a teacher, this level of freedom allows me to experiment with my creative ideas and find new ways to engage students.

The other feature I particularly liked is the design. Navigating the app is extremely seamless and intuitive, which makes the entire process of creating a story that much simpler. Not all teachers are tech-savvy, so introducing a new program or tool isn’t always welcome. Fortunately, the app’s design is excellent for creating stories quickly and easily, even if you don’t have impressive computer skills.

As previously mentioned, all stories rely on the “escape room” concept. Therefore, students can’t progress through the story and move to the next room unless they complete the tasks every room brings with it.

With that said, it’s safe to say I’m pleasantly surprised with this project. I fell in love with every aspect of City Stories and I’ll definitely use the platform in the future. I especially like that every user has access to stories created by other teachers, which makes becoming a member of this supportive and tightly-knit community that much more exciting.

Teacher Jasmina used the City Stories platform to create a story of her own called "An Unforgettable Adventure" . You can try it out by clicking here.