Young learners love stories, and reading with young learners typically involves including a wide range of activities along with the reading itself. We read the images, read the text aloud, retell the story with our own words, and carry out a series of playful activities based on the text, such as role plays. For the above mentioned reasons, we decided to read in class of our second graders the story of Peter Pan. We didn't only read the first part of the story but we also heard a fully dramatized version of the story on CD-ROM on our IWB. This was followed by a discussion regarding the first part of the story. Students tried to guess some meanings of words they had not encountered before. Some simple activities (a True or False activity and a gap-filling one) were also prepared for students to do in class. Then some role play masks were given to our students to perform the first part of the story.
Role plays can help students to find connections with the text, to consolidate new functional language, to prepare for a real life task and even to practise exam situations. Combining reading and role play is an excellent way to activate background knowledge, contextualize the text and explore the setting. It is a great way to use new vocabulary and have real-life speaking practice. Young learners also enjoy learning through movement: they love pointing at and touching things, acting and dancing. Drama teachers point out how acting and dramatization help students remember certain phrases, passages, situations and ideas for a long time.
After performing the play a colouring page was handed out to our young learners showing Peter Pan, Wendy, John and Michael flying. The song 'To Neverland' accompanied our students while colouring, to take them to this magic place, Neverland. Our young learners enjoyed these motivating and engaging activities and willingly participated during the whole lesson. We are going to read the whole story until the end of the school year so we are all looking forward to reading the second part of this exciting story. It is our sense of enjoyment, excitement, and emotional involvement that is a necessary condition for learning, and using literature in the classroom can provide the content base for the magic.