“1. Is it ok for beginner readers start with this story?”
If there is nobody to read with correct pronunciation, if there is no any audio file with correct sound is not very ok. They can read with Google translator pronunciation, myself I started with it, but a lot of people think that is not so good. For me was great. I started with it. So my advice is to start with podcasts which have audio files and texts.
Then beginners can read and listen same time good English. If they will use Google Translator my advice is to translate only phrase by phrase in their language and for pronunciation will be great to use Google Translator to translate from English to English. Then they will be sure that there is an English phrase with correct grammar.
I think for beginner readers is very ok to read any English, to absorb English everywhere. They need to practice any kind of English all their free time if they want to improve a language, if they want to improve English. Everyone is free to choose their method to practice, they can feel which one is better from themselves.
“2. Should the student be prompted with correct pronunciation or encouraged to figure the word(s) out by themselves?”
I am sure that teachers are not agree with me. I never agree with correction during the conversations or reading times. Maybe in real class, offline, one by one, can be great. But online, by internet, I not agree with any correction. Sometime people correct me. Is great. I want to thank them. But I don’t need it so much.
Each of us can write down on piece of paper new words or expression and before or after the class we can find online dictionaries, translators which can explain to us every word or expression. We can even ask somebody, but all the time after or before reading time or conversations.
If there is an English class for study words and the meaning of it could be ok. If there is a reading class is not ok. Sometime will be great to summarize the text. For beginners I think is ok to summarize after or before the class, to have time to understand the meaning of the story or the text.
In conclusion I think will be better to encourage the beginners to figure the word(s) out by themselves. They can find online a lot of explanations for the meaning of words.
“3. Do you suggest that we DO NOT try to discuss the story, just read even though there is no significant understanding.”
That depend of the level of English. If there are beginners and very beginners I don’t agree with discuss the story. They can’t understand a lot of the meaning of the story so fast. They need to study themselves deeper the text. Even they will understand some words or expressions, because of the teacher, they will lose fluency of the story.
Some of beginners don’t like to listen if they don’t understand. I don’t know yet what can I say in this situation. Maybe they need to study in other way. Myself I saw that absorbing a language is more useful then understanding it. After awhile I was able to speak without using memory. I never use memory to remember words or lists of words. Depends of the people.
If there are intermediates to advanced will be ok to discuss the story. Because they can understand fast what happen there even they don’t understand some words.
Usually intermediates to advanced learners know already how to improve their English, they practice themselves or with English teachers. I think if we want to help beginners will be great to explain them the meaning of the story before or after the class.
In conclusion I do not agree to discuss the story because there can be beginners and advanced same time. Some of them can understand all the meaning of the story some of them can’t understand, then advanced English speakers can help beginners.
If you have any questions we can elaborate my approach.
See you soon!
p.s. you can listen to me there: