Home Language Storytelling Initiative


The Elementary School English as an Additional Language (EAL) team and Librarians are leading a home language storytelling initiative this year!

What’s the purpose?

  • A sustained celebration of linguistic diversity and multilingualism in the FIS community
  • Promote the value of languages other than English
  • Provide students with the opportunity to engage with (their) home languages
  • Promote international-mindedness among students through being exposed to different languages and stories from other cultures)
  • Develop a love of languages and language learning among students
  • Develop empathy for beginner language learners and language learning strategies, through immersion in a totally new language
  • Bring the FIS community together
  • Promote the importance of maintaining the home language

How does it work?

Once per month at the FIS, somebody from the FIS community will read a short story aloud in their home language. Anyone from the FIS community will be able to sign up to read a story.

Homeroom teachers can sign up their class to attend a home language storytelling session (usually one or two classes per session). The whole class can attend, including those who don’t speak the home language the story is told in, since the storyteller will summarise the story in English and provide visuals (e.g. show the pictures in the book) to support understanding of the story.

Alternatively / additionally, part of a class or a group of students may attend the session.

How do I get involved?

Two of our Grade 3 classes were lucky enough to be part of the launch of this initiative. This first session was led today by our Board Member Aki Ben-Ezra who read “Ein Hund für Oma Malwina”. The children were engaged and excited to have the opportunity to listen to a story in German and translate it to English for those classmates in the early stages of learning German.

Our next storytelling sessions are on the following dates from 15:00 to 15:30:

  • December 11
  • January 22
  • February 19
  • March 26
  • April 9
  • May 7
  • June 4

We can be flexible with dates, so if you’d like to volunteer to read a story but would prefer a different day, please let us know.

Guidance for storytellers can be found here.

If you would like to volunteer to read a short story in your language, please email Melinda Piehler, Elementary School Librarian, and me at suggesting session(s) that would work for you and telling us the language in which you’d like to read. We’d be in touch with you from there.

We look forward to collaborating with the FIS community on this exciting initiative!

Jessica Davey
Head of Department English as an Additional Language

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