DISNEY CLIL

Click on the questions below to find out more information about Penguin Kids CLIL

The CLIL readers must be quite different to The Disney Readers.
Can you explain how?

Yes, they are different, because they are factual. CLIL stands for Content and Language Integrated Learning and so when students read one of our new CLIL Readers they’ll be improving their English and learning information about a topic too! But of course, they’re written to the same Guidelines as all the Readers in the Penguin Kids Series.

How did you choose the themes?

We consulted several sources when choosing the themes. We looked at Course Books and different syllabuses for young learners to see what themes or topics were covered, for example Animals, Technology, Festivals, Transportation. Then we decided which topics or sub-topics were more appropriate for different ages and levels. We made sure we got a spread of topics across all six levels. For example for the topic of animals, we’ve got Nocturnal Animals at Level 2, Animal Athletes at Level 4 and Animal Camouflage at Level 6!

Some books have characters and others are more fact-based.
How did you decide which topics required characters and which did not?

Yes, we really like this feature of the material and it seems to be popular with teachers and students too. How did we decide? Well first of all, we wanted to avoid the CLIL books all looking and feeling the same. Variety is very important if we want to appeal to a range of learners. And secondly we believe that for some students it might be easier for them to connect with factual topics if they’re told through characters or a story. A couple of examples of titles like this are Where I Live at Level 1 and Harry’s Clothes Project at 5.

The books include some 'technical' words. Can you explain the rationale
for their inclusion?

The word lists for each level of the Penguin Kids series are words that occur in general English text books and in tests. But the CLIL books need special topic-related words. Let me give you an example. Up in the Air is about air transportation. The Subject Specific words for this reader are words like glider, hot air balloon, pilot, jet plane, helicopter. You wouldn’t expect these words to be on the general word lists for the level – and they’re not! But they are words which we need for this topic. So we decided that each CLIL reader would have some additional Subject Specific words. The meaning of all the Subject Specific words is made clear on the pages of the readers, either through labelling of pictures or by using simple definitions. These Subject Specific words are also included in activities in the Factsheets.

As the books have real world topics, is there any advice you would give
on how to bring that 'real-world' in to the classroom when using such topics?

We chose the topics because they are relevant for the age group, so students will already know something about them. Therefore, my advice for teachers is to brainstorm what their students know about the topic either before students read the book, or after.
As for bringing the 'real world' into the classroom, here are a few ideas for things students can do:
* grow a bean plant with the class after they have read Katie Grows a Bean Plant (Level 1)
* find out and write about other festivals after reading Festival Fun(Level 3)
* draw their ideal home and even make simple models after reading A World of Homes (Level 6).

There are more ideas in the Factsheets and I’m sure teachers and students will have lots of their own ideas too!

Do you think parents should read these books with their children?
Are there any extra activities they could do at home with them?

Yes, absolutely! Parents will enjoy the readers as much as their children will! And, as with all the Penguin Kids titles, there are Factsheets and Interactive Activities online.

With The Disney titles you are re-telling well-known stories. Is it more
difficult to write factual books that are completely new?

I wouldn’t say it’s necessarily more difficult but it certainly is different. It's very exciting researching a topic and deciding what concepts to include and how to support their meaning through text and illustrations. Clearly, research takes time but it is very important as we need to make sure that all the facts in the readers are correct. Once writers have done their research, then they have to write the reader. This means conveying the information in appropriate language for the level. Sometimes that IS quite difficult!