Extending reading through projects with young learners

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How can you make reading with young learners as interactive and fun as possible? One way to make the reading experience more memorable is by extending it through projects.

Arts and crafts projects create excellent opportunities to

  • recycle vocabulary learnt during the reading,
  • create new learning situations,
  • link to cross-curricular topics,
  • allow students to ‘personalise’ the story and create affective links to it;
  • and extend the story beyond the reading session.

And let’s not forget to mention that these activities will give young learners the opportnity to use their hands, work in groups and do things manually, which is a great benefit in a digital environment.

At the end of each reader in The Thinking Train series (as well as the Helbling Young Readers series) you will find a one-page project related to the story. We often feel that it’d be nice to have a small souvenir from the novel we have read. Doing arts and crafts projects which recall a scene from the story are a bit like briging home spercial souvenirs from a favourite hliday spot. What’s more, they are great educational tools. The stories create contexts in which the project becomes an engaging experience, and the activities create situations in which we can retell the story and practise the language.

We have selected three projects from The Thinking Train series to give you some examples. Some of them also work as nice presents.

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1 Olympic wreath

What’s the story?

James has got lots of toys and games. His dad buys him lots of presents and he plays lots of games with him, too. But James is always bored. Then one day Dad gives James’ toys and games to the children next door. They are very happy – and they invite James to play with them.

What’s the project?

You’ll only need some green cardboard, scissors, a glue stick and a stapler. Then you’ll be ready to make prizes for your little Olympians!

Details of the book:

Let’s play! written by Herbert Puchta and Günter Gerngross, illustrated by Francesca Assirelli, activities by Marion Williams.

  • Level ‘B’ book: Cambridge Young Learners English Starters level, Trinity Level 1. Recording in British English.

You will activate the following thinking skills in this book:
choosing, noticing, matching and problem solving.

You will learn or revise the following vocabulary and structures:
ages, numbers, it’s too …, like/don’t like/do you like?, sports and games, this/that

2 Press flowers

What’s the story?

When Oliver’s mum goes away for a year, he is sad. He starts making things for his mum, so she can be with him in a new way. When Mum comes back home, Oliver has got a wonderful surprise for her.

What’s the project?

You’ll need some fresh flowers, paper, heavy books and glue stick. Then you can make beautiful pressed flowers and turn them into gift cards! Follow the instructions in the book to make them last!

Details of the book

A year without Mum written by Herbert Puchta and Günter Gerngross, illustrated by Cecilia Tamburini, activities by Marion Williams.

  • Level ‘D’ book: Cambridge Young Learners English Movers level, Trinity Level 2. Recording in British English.

You will activate the following thinking skills in this book:
creative thinking, matching, sequencing, problem solving, deciding and choosing.

You will learn or revise the following vocabulary and structures:
present simple, jobs, months of the year, countries, nature vocabulary

3 T-shirts

What’s the story?

Ruby hates PE. Her teacher always tells her to run faster and try harder. But Ruby can’t. The other girls are not happy when Ruby is in their team. They want to win, and winning is impossible with Ruby in the team. Then, one day there is a cross-country race, and Ruby shows that she is a winner, too.

What’s the project?

Make T-shirts for your team or class. Follow the instructions to get creative ideas.

Details of the book:

Ruby runs the race written by Herbert Puchta and Günter Gerngross, illustrated by Marzia Sanfilippo, activities by Marion Williams.

  • Level ‘E’ book: Cambridge Young Learners English Movers level, Trinity Level 2/3. Recording in British English.

You will activate the following thinking skills in this book:
cause and effect, spatial awareness and problem solving.

You will learn or revise the following vocabulary or structures:
comparatives, first aid, likes/hates, ’ll for future predictions, past simple, prepositions

Would you like to read more about projects? Check out our previous post about our Young Readers projects:

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