Things teachers can do to encourage reading stories in a second languageStudies have shown that repetition of familiar books help children form the connections necessary to learn. Children are natural copycats, who often delight themselves in repeating and mimicking sounds and words. They pick up language by first listening and absorbing and later copying what they hear and what they observe. Children love and learn from repetition, so there’s no need to be afraid of reading the same books over and over again. When you do so, repeat placing the same emphasis each time as you would with a familiar song. Numerous studies confirm that reading to young children not only boosts speech and language development, but overall intelligence as well. Consider each story as a new world for children to explore and learn about the world around them. Draw your class’ attention to the picture on the front cover. Ask questions as you read. Little by little children will be using the words, structures, and expressions found in this story with surprising frequency. Some children might not be able to respond yet, but using this strategy lays the groundwork for doing so later on. Begin to read the book with expression. As you turn each page on the book allow some time for children to participate. Encourage them to speak about the pictures they see before you read the text. Encourage them to use their senses and experience the smells, sounds, and tastes that are presented in the book. Reinforce their language skills. Help them put into words what they want to express. Establish a useful communication between you and your class. When you finish reading the book, praise children for their active participation. Follow the suggestions presented previously for making the reading more interesting and for captivating children’s attention. Keep in mind that reading aloud to young children not only boosts speech and language development, but overall intelligence as well. When you finish reading put away the story book and fold the story blanket with the help of children in your group. Chant adiós to the book and the blanket. Following are a few of the things that have worked for me:
- Read to children every day. Not only teachers but also parents.
- Have a classroom library with books in English and establish a loan system so children can take the books and read at home.
- Create linguistically rich environments.
- Organize literary events that promote the purchase of books.
- Make small fairs where the target language is the cornerstone and promote the culture, traditions and literature of the target language speaking countries.
- Invite different personalities and authors of children’s books to participate in reading events in schools.