Using Story Time to teach foreign languages- why should the elf not be on a shelf?
I am a confessed bookworm, as such, I have always kept books on my desk, after my teenage years they came in different languages and to suit my broad taste. I am trying to pass my legacy to my son, we love going to Barnes and Noble and picking out new books and he has a reading chart where he gets a new toy for every 30 days of reading!
Since books have been my best friend for as long as I can remember, they taught me so much! Made who I am! I owe my books so much! The fact that I am able to read English, German, Spanish and Portuguese classics in its original language is a priceless gift!
When planning my classes, I try to bring the joy to the children, specially the ones who can’t read yet, because I can’t always find Spanish and Portuguese books to match my units, but I can always find an English one and read them my way!
I have been using story time as one of the components for my class planning for as early as I can remember!
The key is to reduce Spanish Classics to meet baby’s short attention spam and one sentence page for toddlers is a must! After all, if you wish to make the experience fun, you must cater to your audience, otherwise the children will associate reading with BORING and my program is called Spanish made fun, not Spanish made boring!
So, I wanted to share some tips on how to make story time a powerful tool in your foreign language classroom, at your home, in your library story time, anywhere!
- Chose the right book! Depending on what you trying to accomplish, your thematic unit or the age or all the above!!!
- Reduce the amount of reading to suit your audience, early ages, short one word-3 word sentences, words will increase with age!
- Pictures will help children understand your story better, so definitely lots of pictures when reading in a foreign language to non native speakers.
- Bring stories which speak to their lives, to the things they know and love! Authentic shouldn’t always mean foreign, should mean close to their heart! I am against the thought that only authentic literature should be used when teaching a language.
This Holiday I changed my plans made in the summer for my holiday unit and incorporated the elf, el duende! Brought my story time to a whole new level, connected to the children like never before and brought the Spanish closer to their heart, so mission accomplished! I used the book The Elf on a Shelf™ in Spanish
I paired the book, which can only be found at Target online, with hide and seek, tell the elf (since he can’t talk) what you want for Christmas and Elf chat activities! My Spanish elf came in a darker color which creates a conversation about ethnicity I would never be able to bring to the classroom, if I did not have my special friend! Shared, that different is beautiful and we are all beautiful, no matter what language we speak!
I hope you enjoy our ideas and that you make the great decision to bring books when teaching a foreign language, it will inspire children to read, will open the doors to the fact that books speak that language as well, increase vocabulary and bring the fun to a whole new level!
Off course we talked about advent and Los Reyes in our Spanish classes and the shoes in Portuguese ones, but the elf was definitely the highlight and resulted that I was invited to read the story 1000+ children in December, in the most popular Santa story times in our area, so it is all about sharing bilingual love!
Hope you enjoyed my thoughts on using story time to teach or bring a foreign language to children and get your book, elf, out of your shelf and use it in your next bilingual experience!
EasyLearn Languages Director
Speaker of 4 languages and teacher since 1998
Tags: Audience, Barnes And Noble, Barnes Noble, Best Friend, Bookworm, Desk, Different Languages, Elf, English German, Foreign Language, Foreign Languages, German Spanish, Language Classroom, Legacy, Library Story, Native Speakers, New Books, New Toy, Portuguese Books, Priceless Gift, Reading In A Foreign Language, Spam, Spanish Classics, Story Time, Teenage Years, Thematic Unit, Toddlers, Word Sentences