More from EY about stories in home languages…

Here’s some photos of a variety of Mums, Dads, Grandmas, Grandads, teachers and assistants reading and telling stories in the students’ home languages.

There was a great buzz in EY this morning as so many stories were being shared in so many languages – English, Thai, Japanese, Spanish, Russian, Swedish, Hindi and Korean!

Several of the EY teachers have been talking about the effect of these sessions on their students and I will invite them to share their thoughts by commenting on this posting.

Conceptual understandings from IB Language Arts Scope and Sequence Document


  1. Kate Lynch

    We’ve been doing similar language group story times for 3 years now. The first year it was a one off event and we collaborated with Y1. It would be great to do that again at least once this year as it offers those students who might be the only speaker of their language more chance to have at least one peer to join with.
    Last year we introduced a 6 week programme of these and this year we’re hoping to make it ongoing. After establishing the routine this year we may vary it to include structured acitivities that are carried out in the language groupings (such as games or caring for our EY pets) rather than only story reading. We believe there are great benefits to students speaking and listening skills when we give them opportunities in school time to foster their home languages and validate these languages more by allocating time to them. The purpose of extending this to activities other than story reading would be to help build up students home language vocabulary that is commonly used here, and therefore help them to make connections to English. We do have a high proportion of students who begin in EY as English Language Learners, so such a programme really helps them. This also links to our current UOI ‘Language is integral to identity and gives us a sense of belonging’ so we hope this will extend into a genuine inquiry into each child’s sense of identity and how language plays a role in this, as well as looking into the functions of language and how important it is to all of us.

    • Heather

      I participated in EY’s home language story time 3 years ago and I found it to be an amazing experience. I was working with the ESL children in Year 1, while looking at students in EY2 who might need language support the following year in Year 1. I was able to collect a lot of data on speaking, listening, and word recognition (or symbol recognition) in their home language. The “readers” were a great resource: they were able to tell me about the students’ first language development and areas of great strength and need. I could then compare it to the students’ development in English and determine if there was parity, or a gap. Sometimes the student was stronger in their home language, so we then knew to access their home language to further develop student learning. Sometimes the student was stronger in English, so we would talk to the parents about the importance of maintaining the mother tongue at home.
      And most importantly, the students had a great time. Some do not have peers in their class, or year level, that speak the same home language. It was a time to connect with others in a comforting “home-y” way.

      • Mr. Sam

        It’s amazing how something so simple – the act of reading stories in home languages – can take on such complexity and depth of meaning when teachers look at it from different perspectives. I love the way you have thought of this kind of experience as a potential formative assessment!

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