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Story boxes in our mother tongues: a hands on multilingual literacy experience

Take a traditional tale that has travelled the world, build characters and props, and here you have a “story box”!
Now it’s time for you to enjoy telling stories in many languages, share fun moments and engage with the whole school community!

As part of the Language Explorers initiative, we visited a Junior Infants class in Dublin to create the opportunity for children to experience various languages and to learn more about one another.
We chose the Three Little Pigs, a very familiar tale, and we invited parents to take part in the project.
Parents joined their children in building the props and telling the stories in their mother tongue.

The discussions among the children were fascinating:

– “Look! I made a pig unicorn!”
– How do you say “horn” in your language?
– Rożek (in polish)
– Oh! like courgette!
– yeah! but it’s not the same /R/ (referring to the pronunciation of the r sound). I now know 3 ways to do /R/: English, polish and french!

Parents had fun telling the story in their mother tongue and for many, it was the first time they spoke their language in front of their child’s class.
The children heard the same story told in English, Irish, Portuguese, Japanese and French. This was a great opportunity for all children to be exposed to new sounds and words and to understand the diversity that their friends and the families bring to the school as an enrichment to the whole school community.
Children were delighted to share their heritage with the rest of the class and they were very excited to see their parents speak a language in school that is only usually spoken at home. The comments, the observations, the laughter, the attempts to imitate sounds and words allowed everyone to experiment with linguistic diversity.
It was a fantastic experience and we hope to be able to bring this initiative to more schools, so get in touch if you would like to bring this project to your school!
For more information visit www.languagexplorers.eu or contact education@mothertongues.ie

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