Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Learning Te reo Maori with children's books

He aha tenei? What is this? by Sharon Holt, illustrated by Deborah Hinde (Writing Bug)

Readers are introduced to a ladybug, snail, spider, praying mantis, caterpillar, butterfly, cicada, worm, and weta with the following phrase written in Maori. Here's the English version:

Look here! Look, what is this?
What is this?
That is a ...................
Look here! Look, what is this?
That is a ...................
Be gentle.
It's special.

This book has more word phrases than the other books. This is a good idea because students who have used earlier books will most likely be ready for more challenging text.

Matariki, by Sharon Holt, illustrated by Deborah Hinde (Writing Bug)

This book is all about a family celebrating Matariki. Whanau turn up to celebrate and watch the Matariki stars together. Family bring special food to share, and children play with sparklers to make their own stars. The elders remind everyone to remember those who have passed away.

At the back of both books is an English translation, guitar chords, activity ideas and the CD.

These books would be great to have available for students wishing to learn Maori and students in Maori immersion classes. Also a wonderful resource for teachers teaching taha Maori, which all teachers are obligated to do (though, I suspect some might not because they don't feel confident - these books will help with that).

If I was still teaching I'd have the set in the classroom during a taha Maori unit and I'd use the suggestions at the back of the books in a learning centre and or activities in round-robins around the class. Junior Primary classes will enjoy singing along with the CD too.

RRP $ 24.99 each
ISBN 978-0-473-27423-8 Matariki
ISBN 978-0-473-28590-6 He aha tenei?

Go to the website to purchase directly and see inside and listen to some of the songs or videos. Otherwise buy from all good stores (or ask them to order them in).


Ko wai e huna ana? by Satoru Onishi (Gecko Press)
Te reo Maori translation by Paora Tibble

Who’s hiding? Who’s crying? Who’s backwards? Look carefully! Is it dog, tiger, hippo, zebra, bear, reindeer, kangaroo, lion, rabbit, giraffe, monkey, bull, rhino, pig, sheep, hen, elephant, or cat?
Throughout the book are the same ensemble of animals, with different expressions, standing in the same order and positions. The Maori phrase changes on each page. I completed two University papers in te reo Maori and one teaching college class 20 years ago, so my Maori is rusty. I was able to remember what 'He aha tenei?" meant (What is this?) but I needed to consult a Maori dictionary for the rest of the book.  www.maoridictionary.co.nz (wonderful resource if you haven't already found it).  There are no clues at the back of the book to tell me what is being said.  However, this book will be a great resource for kids who like to solve puzzles. There are no hints in the book so kids have to work out what is different on that page and that will help them work out what the phrase might mean. This book will be useful in kohanga reo and kura kaupapa schools where children have been introduced to the phrases and words already.  The answers to the questions on each page are on the back page in Maori.

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