It was my birthday a couple of days ago and I had a lovely surprise: a surprise gift from a Greek reader friend, who teaches children English as a second language. She wrote to me to let me know how she uses my children’s book, Musiville, in the classroom. With her permission, I am sharing here. I hope you enjoy her story as much as I did!
Musiville: A Teacher’s Tale
I teach English as a foreign language to young children. From my experience, at these ages, if you give them exercises and grammar rules they will soon loathe the classroom. I love the English language and would not want any of my students to come to hate it, so I always look for fun activities to promote both learning and pleasure. And, if I can keep my class happy, creative but calm, I am in teacher heaven.
This is why I love your book, Musiville. This is a book that so many teachers would love!
First, there is the theme of animals and music. Learning animal names is one of the things we do with the very young. Musiville has a large array of jungle animals, beautifully sketched, which has proved very handy in expanding the children’s vocabulary. Add the musical instruments’ vocabulary, and Musiville is an invaluable support for me. Playing with animals and instruments in class to either guess what a musianimal does or invent new ones is an activity most of my pupils love.
Then, there is this message of working together to achieve beauty and result. As a teacher, I can tell you I really appreciate this. The book is more of a chapter book so it can be too long for little children who haven’t yet mastered English, so I usually narrate the story and show pictures from the book, instead of having them read it. I have to admit that I love the annex, because it is full of smaller texts that a pupil can read. We read about each musianimal, make up little phrases to complete the descriptions, and many of my pupils draw or color the sketches. We even did a coloring contest last year!
The beauty of this is that children come to read the book on their own as they grow up and their language skills develop. So I use the book with older children to give them reading assignments, one chapter at a time (for obvious financial reasons, I am grateful I don’t need to ask the parents to buy one more book every year…).
Although I’m not sure you intended the book to be used as teaching material, I’d like to give you a teacher’s thumbs up for it!