Saturday, July 7, 2012

Using Eric Carle books to Teach English

One great way to teach Young Learner's English and make it both enriching and more effective is to teach with Children's Literature.  Of course you have to adapt the Literature you use to your ELL students level.  If your students are in 4th of primary or lower, one great author to use is Eric Carle.  His books have highly predictable text which helps develop vocabulary and at the same time help comprehension.

His most well known books "The Hungry Caterpillar" and "Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See" have been helping children in the United States learn since the 60's.

In the book "Slowly, slowly, slowly,' said the Sloth" the adverb slowly is repeated throughout the book giving the teacher a chance to have the ELL students, after a first reading, join in choraling the repeating text.  Although the text is predictable it is not by any means uninteresting, the students can learn a wide English vocabulary that is beautifully illustrated.  Plus like in all of Eric's books it gives ELL children a message in a way that they can understand.

Check Eric's Official Website for more information on his great books. There is also a Caterpillar Exchange where with ideas for using Carle's books in your classroom. And if you become a Carle fan here is a link to his Blog.

One activity I often do with my students after reading his books is to make a drawing of their favorite part of the book. Depending the age of the students I can simply ask them to copy a title for their illustration. If they are older and able to write more I ask them to write a sentence or two about their favorite part.  Depending on their English level I sometimes give them a writing prompt such as "My favorite part of "Title" was_______________.  If their English level is higher I ask them to tell me why.  I've used this effectively with children from 3 to 6th grade.

Please share some fun ways you use Carle's or other children's books to teach Young Learner's English.

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