Children's Books discussion

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message 1: by Manybooks (last edited Oct 16, 2016 11:35AM) (new)

Manybooks | 7672 comments Mod
Hi all!

As a German language instructor who has also at times taught ESL, I am always on the lookout for interesting teaching materials. And while I teach at the college and university level, I have often made use of children's books, especially picture books, for fun activities.

I would love to start a list of potential books, as I think home-made activities that go beyond the assigned textbooks are a great inspiration for students, fun, engaging and it also encourages students to attend classes.

For beginning level students (both ESL and my first year German students), I have often used the simple wordless picture books of Suzy Lee (Mirror and Wave work really well for this, and many different activities can be created and envisioned).

For advanced ESL students, I have at times used the misspelled letters that Emily Byrd Starr writes to her deceased father for error correction and error location exercises (other books that use bad grammar and bad spelling work as well, but not with novices, as one runs the risk of them imitating the mistakes), Emily of New Moon.

And for ESL practice of verb forms, prepositions, and the position of the negative, Green Eggs and Ham is wonderful, fun, engaging but also by its very receptiveness, a great teaching and of course learning tool.


Cheryl has hopes her life will calm down soonish (cherylllr) | 6441 comments Mod
What are the textbooks like? Just exercises, charts, etc.? Or something else that we would not want to repeat?

I would think any leveled readers could be fun for ESL... perhaps Cynthia Rylant's series that focuses on retirees and their pets, for example Mr. Putter And Tabby Bake The Cake.


message 3: by Manybooks (last edited Oct 16, 2016 09:05PM) (new)

Manybooks | 7672 comments Mod
Cheryl wrote: "What are the textbooks like? Just exercises, charts, etc.? Or something else that we would not want to repeat?

I would think any leveled readers could be fun for ESL... perhaps [author:Cynthia Ryl..."


Most of the textbooks are fine, but I always like to make up my own material, as the exercises are repetitive and sometimes rather tedious.

Sometimes, fun is needed, and with novel materials, students learn above and beyond the textbook.


message 4: by Elizabeth (new)

Elizabeth Silverman | 4 comments You could consider "A Kid's Guide to New York With Wimsey the Bloodhound" because I wrote the book with specific vocabulary words for children that are used contextually to teach meaning. (The photos are fun too :) )


Cheryl has hopes her life will calm down soonish (cherylllr) | 6441 comments Mod
I guess I'm just not sure what you're looking for...


message 6: by Manybooks (new)

Manybooks | 7672 comments Mod
Cheryl wrote: "I guess I'm just not sure what you're looking for..."

I just wanted to start a list for teachers or instructors that they could use as a resource. I know how hard it was for me at first to find suitable supplemental materials. I will add more in a few days.


Cheryl has hopes her life will calm down soonish (cherylllr) | 6441 comments Mod
Well, that's what I mean. I don't know what you mean by 'suitable.'


message 8: by Manybooks (new)

Manybooks | 7672 comments Mod
Cheryl wrote: "Well, that's what I mean. I don't know what you mean by 'suitable.'"

suitable means activities that actually worked for my students and did not bore them or were too difficult (or too easy)


message 9: by LeeAnn (new)

LeeAnn | 6 comments Manybooks, I see lots of books plus activities posted on Pinterest and I think Tumblr has similar postings. On Pinterest I believe you can search for pins without an account. It might be worth a look to see if this is what you are seeking.


message 10: by Manybooks (new)

Manybooks | 7672 comments Mod
LeeAnn wrote: "Manybooks, I see lots of books plus activities posted on Pinterest and I think Tumblr has similar postings. On Pinterest I believe you can search for pins without an account. It might be worth a lo..."

Thanks, this is not so much for me but a list for everyone, but I will consider these.


message 11: by Cheryl has hopes her life will calm down soonish, Newbery Club host (last edited Oct 18, 2016 03:48PM) (new)

Cheryl has hopes her life will calm down soonish (cherylllr) | 6441 comments Mod
Ok, I think that I have a better handle on what you want. Thinking about what would have helped me, when I was attempting to learn Spanish, and when I was an ESL tutor, I have some thoughts:

How about books of idioms, like A Chocolate Moose for Dinner and others by Fred Gwynne?

Or meta-fictional books like Press Here, which is full of instructions about how to interact with the book, by Hervé Tullet?

Also the beautiful photographic books like Shadows and Reflections and Red, Blue, Yellow Shoe by Tana Hoban would be good for vocabulary.

I do still recommend leveled readers. And I assume you also use certain suitable alphabet books.

I assume that what is 'suitable' is hard to predict, and that different things work with different students.


message 12: by Manybooks (new)

Manybooks | 7672 comments Mod
Cheryl wrote: "Ok, I think that I have a better handle on what you want. Thinking about what would have helped me, when I was attempting to learn Spanish, and when I was an ESL tutor, I have some thoughts:

How a..."


Books on idioms are a great idea, I wonder if the Amelia Bedalia series would work.

And dual language picture books!


Cheryl has hopes her life will calm down soonish (cherylllr) | 6441 comments Mod
Amelia Bedelia now has shorter books, published as leveled readers.

Not as far away as Pinterest or even GR's Listopia are discussions here:
https://www.goodreads.com/topic/show/...
https://www.goodreads.com/topic/show/...


message 14: by Jenny (new)

Jenny | 722 comments Ruth Heller's books are colorful and introduce readers to collective nouns, adjectives, verbs, etc. in an engaging way.

I have used Amelia Bedelia books with second language learners and while they did need some explanations (in fact, some of my non second language students also needed a few explanations for the older Amelia Bedelia books), they enjoyed them.


message 15: by Jenny (new)

Jenny | 722 comments I am sure I have other suggestions if I give it a little thought.


Cheryl has hopes her life will calm down soonish (cherylllr) | 6441 comments Mod
omg I can't believe I forgot Kites Sail High: A Book About Verbs and the rest of the series by Heller - I absolutely *love* them because, not only are they beautiful, but they choose non-standard examples to take students beyond the worksheet simplicity so prevalent in most texts....


message 17: by Manybooks (last edited Oct 19, 2016 01:22AM) (new)

Manybooks | 7672 comments Mod
As I already mentioned, the atrociously spelled "letters" in the first of L.M. Montgomery's Emily books, Emily of New Moon, I have used these for error recognition exercises with high intermediate and advanced ESL students (basically, I would hand out the letters and in small groups, the students had to locate the many spelling mistakes and then supply the correct spellings). Worked rather well, but am now a bit worried about possible issues of copyright.


message 18: by Manybooks (new)

Manybooks | 7672 comments Mod
Cheryl wrote: "omg I can't believe I forgot Kites Sail High: A Book About Verbs and the rest of the series by Heller - I absolutely *love* them because, not only are they beautiful, but they choose ..."

Those look good, thanks.


message 19: by Sarina (new)

Sarina Thompson | 3 comments Hi everyone, just a sugestion, what about advanced english find a word puzzles. I find them very effective when I help my Japanese homestay study ESL.


message 20: by Manybooks (new)

Manybooks | 7672 comments Mod
Sarina wrote: "Hi everyone, just a sugestion, what about advanced english find a word puzzles. I find them very effective when I help my Japanese homestay study ESL."

Yes, these do work well. There are actually online sites where one can create crossword and word search puzzles, and even with a simple pen and paper, I have made fill in the blanks for German and English vocabulary words (I usually use these or have used these at the beginning or at the end of a class).

Many students also like find the object types of puzzles, but I have to admit that because I personally am not that good at these myself, I often do not remember to include them (but when I have, they are often a great success and much fun, especially if students realise that they are better at this than I am, gives them a chance to shine and to be one up on the instructor, which kind of humanises us).


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