Ask any Duolingo user what their favourite feature is and I guarantee most will say Duolingo stories.
They’ve been around for a few years now and are available in several languages for English speakers.
And now, with the rollout of Duolingo’s new learning path, they’re fully integrated into the learning experience.
In this article, we’ll cover everything you need to know about Duolingo stories, including what they are, which languages they’re available in, how to unlock them, and why they’re so good.
Let’s dive into it!
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What are Duolingo Stories?
Duolingo stories are mini-stories that “challenge your reading and listening comprehension.”
Back in the day, you could also use them to practice your speaking. However, this feature is currently unavailable.
The goal of stories is authenticity and immersion. They’re designed to get you stuck into your language, taking everything you learn from your lessons and putting it into practice.
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How do Duolingo Stories work?
Duolingo stories involve at least two characters having a conversation about various topics. Your goal is to follow along and answer questions about what they’re talking about.
The exercises include, but aren’t limited to:
- Select the missing phrase
- Multiple choice about the conversation
- Click on the option meaning…
- What comes next?
Each story ends with a Tap the pairs exercise, in which you revisit some of the main bits of vocabulary encountered in the story.
Like in the ordinary lessons, if ever you find the questions are getting too hard, you can always tap a word to see what it means.
As of February 2023, stories only have a couple of levels: the standard level, and the legendary level.
Legendary is pretty much exactly the same as the standard, the only difference being that you don’t get any hints.
Once upon a time, stories used to be split up differently.
As well as the standard level, they also had a speaking and listening level.
The speaking level was basically just a repetition exercise. It wasn’t that difficult — you basically just repeated what one of the characters was saying…
The listening level hid some of the written dialogue, so it was really good for your listening comprehension…
Check out this video to see a story from the Spanish course!
Duolingo new learning path update – what happened to stories?
With the launch of the new learning path, Duolingo have made a few tweaks to stories.
The stories themselves are basically the same as they were before. However, the way in which you access them is now a little bit different.
Once you complete a story, you’ll be able to access it via your personalised practice tab. Simply tap it, then head over to stories, where you’ll find a list of all the stories you’ve unlocked.
This way you can go back and review previous stories any time you like!
Which Duolingo courses have stories?
As of February 2023, Duolingo stories are available in 6 languages for English speakers:
Stories are also available in the following languages for anyone learning English:
How to read stories on Duolingo
Duolingo’s new learning path update has changed the way we read and access stories.
Before the update, you needed to earn 10 crown levels in your target language before you could read the first set of stories in your course.
Now though, stories are baked into the learning experience. You no longer unlock sets of stories, but instead, you read one at a time as they appear along your path.
Depending on your language course, you may get to read your first story after completing just a few levels.
For instance, in the Italian course, you get to read your first story after completing the first 3 levels.
On the Spanish course, however, you only need to complete 1 before your first story!
This means you get to dive into your stories much earlier than in the previous version, however, you now only get one at a time, as opposed to a set of 4 all in one go.
You can also read all of your unlocked stories via the personalised practice tab.
Are Duolingo Stories free?
Yes, Duolingo stories are completely free. So long as they are available in your chosen language course, you’ll be able to access them without charge.
Are the stories the same across all languages?
Some language courses get more stories than others. This is because Duolingo prioritise updates and features for their most popular languages, as these have the most users.
The Italian course, however, only has 51. The characters also sound a lot more robotic and lifeless in the Italian stories than they do in the French and Spanish ones.
Are Duolingo Stories good?
Getting to grips with a new language can be really daunting in the beginning.
The thought of one day being able to understand authentic content in another language can be exciting, but it can also seem distant, or even impossible.
Duolingo stories change all that.
They get you engaged with your target language in an authentic way from the very beginning. You don’t have to spend months or years acquiring loads of vocabulary and grammar. You can dive in pretty much straight away.
The stories are simple enough that you can understand what you’re reading regardless of your level, but challenging enough to keep you engaged and interested.
If ever there’s a word you don’t understand, you can just tap it in the normal way to reveal a hint.
The questions ensure you’re understanding what you’re reading and keep you focused. It’s so satisfying when you get them right. It shows that you’re following along, and this has a massive effect on your confidence!
Best of all, the stories are *really* entertaining. It never feels like you’re ‘studying’ the language when you’re reading them!
In my case, I often find myself binging the French and Spanish stories because they are so well written. They’re genuinely hilarious!
As far as I’m concerned, the only downside to Duolingo stories is that, unless you’re learning one of the popular language courses, there simply isn’t enough of them. Hopefully, Duolingo will introduce stories to more languages moving forward!
For more on Duolingo stories, as well as other Duolingo chatter, feel free to follow me on Twitter.
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