Getting grammar and language out of picturebooks

Today we are going to work with a specific book, but I hope that you take a look at your library and find books with similar characteristics and that you try to make your own activities. 

Or, get a copy of Lost and Found and have the same experience I had with my students.  This book, in particular, works well with two language points — simple past and connectors.  Also, it helps students build emotional intelligence, or at least engage in a conversation requiring empathy.  You will find this especially interesting to do with students at the A2 and B1 levels.

So, let’s take a look at the cover.  And, if you’d like to take a look at a narrated version on YouTube, you can follow this link: www.youtube.com/watch?v=4V9I6ndRpoQ

Once we get inside, you’ll see that the verb forms are in the Past Simple and so it’s easy to practice that verb form. I have also worked conjunctions in the text (but, so, and) and time sequencers too.

So, let’s look inside at what I have done.  You  can do the same with another book or with this one.

I have cut out the phrases that would appear in the text and have replaced them with a letter.  Students have a table with all of the phrases cut out and with phrases where they have to supply the verb in the past simple.

Here’s the first picture of the text.  Which one is the matching sentence?

Further on, we see the boy talking to some birds.

And we see the boy starting out on his mission.

so the boy decided to help the penguin…

Notice the conjunction in this sentence—so.  Although I have taken out a lot of sentences out—17 in all, students are able to do this activity.   Later, they can do a matching exercise with pictures printed out.  Even better yet, they can re-narrate the story, given their own versions of each sentence.

There is so much you can do with picturebooks! This was one that worked really well in some of my classes. I hope it works well in yours.

Stories are fabulous, and even better if we can work with vocabulary and grammar. 

Next week, we’ll be here to work with something of more virtual appeal—we’ll look at some goals and opportunities for English teachers when using IT.

If you’d like to see this video on Facebook, click here.

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