I went to a workshop by Carol Gaab on Comprehensible Input (CI) and my mind was blown! I learned more in one workshop
But how do I still teach the required elements of my school's textbook curriculum?
How do you use readings with a standard textbook curriculum?
I have found success with two strategies. If the story I've written is silly and something that can be easily acted out, we perform it as a class. I narrate and the students act it out. Sometimes we will do this two or three times, each time using new actors and changing some element of the story through audience participation. If I have a particularly strong class or a student who needs a challenge, the final time, I will step out and let that student narrate, which is the most fun of all!
With a story that doesn't really lend itself to acting, we read aloud together as a class. Usually I will read it to them the first time to demonstrate accurate pronunciation. Then students re-read to their partner to practice their own fluency, and finally they re-read to each other in English to check for understanding. I demonstrate this step to them and show them how we don't read every single word, but summarize the sentence how it would be said in English.
Another strategy I use for extra repetition is to have them highlight the targeted words in the story either before or after they read it, just to see them one more time.
In my classroom, we probably read 1-2 stories per unit, after the initial presentation of vocabulary. Using these readings has truly changed the way I teach and helped my students to significantly grow.