HOW TO USE HAND-PUPPET BOOKS WITH VERY YOUNG LEARNERS
Bringing puppet books to life
One aspect of puppetry we really enjoy using in class is hand-puppet books with very young learners. There are lots on the market, but one of our favourites is Playtime Teddy by Emma Goldhawk and Jonathan Lambert. It’s part of the ‘Snuggle Book’ series.
How to use hand-puppet books
The key thing about using the book is to treat the puppet as if it’s really real. Then it’s much easier for the students to ‘buy into’ the story. As with any puppet, when I’m talking to the class, the puppet looks at me, and when I talk to Teddy, I look at the puppet. This is very important, as it focuses students’ attention where you want it. Also, Teddy has a great face and is really cute.
He’s very easy to manipulate too. He can wave, point, clap and shake hands. Remember, the movements you make with Teddy should be micro-movements (very small movements). You’ll find this will really give the impression that the puppet’s alive. If you move the puppet too much, it’s a distraction. In our experience, this is a common mistake that first-time puppet-users make.
Depending on class size, you can either move around the class with the book, or you can nominate students to come to the front to interact with Teddy.
More puppet books
Another book that’s lots of fun is Calm down Boris by Sam Lloyd. This ties in very well with other subjects such as free-time activities, food, hobbies and exercise. Again, similar to Playtime Teddy, it’s very interactive too.
Once you’ve finished the story you can follow up by asking the students what their favourite food is, what they like to do in their free time, etc. There are five books in this series.
We’ve found Cheeky Monkey to be a great lead-in to doing the Monkey Puzzle Lesson plan and show.
The other stories are great too, and the animals are really soft and snuggly!
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