Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Little Red Riding Hood Story as a Language Learning Tool

By Pola Slovik

Teaching children a language - be that their first, second or third - can be a pleasurable and fun experience for everyone involved - parents, teachers, and children, with familiar fairy tale stories, such as Little Red Riding Hood story, Puss In Boots, the Three Little Pigs and other famous fairy tales.

Young children learn languages best when they are active participants - just as they learned their native language.

When young children begin learning a second language in a structured classroom environment they do not have the same opportunities to hear and use the language as they have for their native language.

Parents can offer important supplemental exposure by providing language instruction at home. The language materials introduced need to be fun and appealing so children can use it (and will want to use it) in different situations.

Because fables and fairy tales are an inseparable companion of childhood, they make perfect material for teaching language at an early age. Fairytale world, heroes, and motifs are already well-known to children and can serve as an excellent basis for learning language, making the learning easy and amusing.

With appropriate adaptations of familiar and famous classic fairy tales and folk tales we can create a smooth environment for learning. Parents and children can become actors, and child's room can be transformed into a stage. Stories can be enlivened by using puppets, costumes, and other props. Parents can create a corner in child's room with puppets, pictures, story books, toys and even costumes related to the story. For example, allowing the child to wear a Little Red Riding Hood costume or wearing a wolf mask while reading the story would add a fun element to the instruction. This will allow children to explore the new language hands-on in a spontaneous play.

Another benefit is that some children become more open and talkative when they are using puppets or costumes. This gives them more freedom of expression, as they can act as somebody else. The use of props, costumes and masks is also an excellent strategy for timid children.

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