Bilingual Babies - Acting Out a Story, "Repka"

Acting out a story for language learning and story sequencing

Have you heard of the famous Russian Fairytale - Repka?  You can find an English and Russian version here.  If you are not familiar with the text, it is a cute story of a Grandpa who cannot pull a GIGANTIC turnip out of the garden and calls for help.  Grandma comes, but the two together cannot pull it out together and they call for the Granddaughter to help.  The Grandpa, the Grandma, the Granddaughter, the Dog, the Cat, and the Mouse all end up working together to pull out the turnip.  It is a delightful little story about teamwork, that also follows a repetitive pattern that is wonderful for beginning readers and learning a second language. (It also happens to be about gardening - which we love) When I explained the "Play Challenge" for today, my 5 year old knew just what book she would use and ran to the bookshelf to pick this one up!
 No re-enactment is complete without a costume!  She ran to put a traditional dress on and together we made our GIGANTIC turnip out of construction paper, staples and newspaper stuffing.  And of course what a better place for this activity than to get outside - the WORLD is our classroom. Do not limit your language learning to inside your house - take it outside! Make everyday a playing and learning day outside.  If you can't tell, my kids are LEARNING the act of storytelling, vocabulary in a second language, are enjoying being outside, we are talking about vegetables and PLAYING together! Time is not wasted - little learners are hard at work!
 "тянут-потянут, вытянуть не могут!"
They pulled and they pulled, but it didn't come out!
A call for help and "Supermom" comes!
 "тянут-потянут, вытянуть не могут!"
They pulled and they pulled, but it didn't come out!
Then, thanks to the help of our little mouse, the turnip was set free!
тянут-потянут, - вытянули репку!
The pulled and they pulled - the turnip was out!

I am so glad that my daughter thought of this book when I mentioned the play challenge for today.  My kids LOVED this retelling activity and even my 2 year old son started chiming in the chorus in Russian.  I also felt like they were learning an important piece of history in addition to the language, play, and storytelling.  I truly feel that learning a language is deeper than just knowing how to pronounce a word or form sentences.  Have you taken the time to share your families cultures traditional stories with your children?  If not, please don't forget to do so.


Niki said...

I love that story (though I've never read it in Russian!). What a wonderful choice for your daughter to make and what fun to act out! :)

Jamie @ hands on : as we grow said...

I love that she dressed up! That's awesome! :D

Stacey said...

Super cute;)

Laura @Art For Little Hands said...

Beautiful story and day. I love that she picked it herself and I am motivated to find that story in a story book to share with my children. Thanks for sharing on Monday Madness.

Brooke @ Let Kids Create said...

Fun. I bet she enjoyed choosing the story herself and then acting it out together. Thanks for sharing on Monday Madness. Can't wait to see what you have to share next time.

Leigh said...

Love this idea of retelling a story, whether for English or a second language! Will definitely share Repka with my daughter. By the way, not sure if you got my email, but I did respond about Russian learning materials, and am very eager! Please let me know as soon as you can when you have more info for me!

Mom to 2 Posh Lil Divas said...

what a fun story & perfect for acting out! looks like you all had a great time with it!

Thanks for linking your idea to the Sunday Showcase last week. Hope to see you this week!


Medea said...

Thanks for submitting this to the Carnival!

I have this book in two languages. The one in Japanese is called "The Big Daikon" and it's an elementary school fave. The Canadian one is called "The Big Potato". How funny that it has been localized all around the world!

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