German Goldilocks for little linguists

14th January 2005 at 00:00
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

Log-in as an existing print or digital subscriber

Forgotten your subscriber ID?


To access this content and the full TES archive, subscribe now.

View subscriber offers


Get TES online and delivered to your door – for less than the price of a coffee

Save 33% off the cover price with this great subscription offer. Every copy delivered to your door by first-class post, plus full access to TES online and the TES app for just £1.90 per week.
Subscribers also enjoy a range of fantastic offers and benefits worth over £270:

  • Discounts off TES Institute courses
  • Access over 200,000 articles in the TES online archive
  • Free Tastecard membership worth £79.99
  • Discounts with Zipcar,, Virgin Wines and other partners
Order your low-cost subscription today