German Goldilocks for little linguists

In teaching German to primary pupils, I use well-known stories, such as Goldilocks or The Hungry Caterpillar, so the children can absorb the new language with ease.

I usually place the German text over the original story and many of the children recognise the words and sentences that go with the pictures.

I use storybooks from Germany or get them from Amazon. My favourite is the Eric Carle story, Wo mag nur meine Katze sein? (Have You Seen My Cat?) Usually I introduce any new words first, such as objects or the feelings of characters in the story, using flashcards and gesture. Rather than individual words, such as hungrig, we work with sentences, such as Sie ist hungrig, and encourage children to use and adapt them: Ich bin hungrig.

Bist du hungrig?

When narrating the story I use different voices with lots of expression and gesture. Usually after a few times the children are keen to help tell the story. Sometimes we make up our own lyrics and sing them to popular tunes.

Stories in German - or any language - lend themselves to many follow-up activities. We act them out with cuddly toys, puppets, props and costumes.

Older children can narrate the stories to key stage 1 children and can also create their own illustrations and text for display.

Nigel Pearson Advisory teacher for German, Dovedale Primary, Greenbank Primary, Knotty

Ash Primary, Liverpool, and primary German Teacher of the Year 2004

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