Thursday, September 12, 2013

Embedded Reading: Der Briefträger kommt

Recently I've been looking into embedded reading as a way to increase student literacy in German.  After reading up on it a bit, I decided to modify a short reading I use at the beginning of German 2 as we transition into the school year.

The original story is called "Der Briefträger kommt."  I have no idea where it's from - another German teacher gave me a copy of it years ago.  Based on the copy I have, it's from "Deutsch macht Spass," but other than that I'm not sure of its origin.  It's a short reading that contained mostly dialogue.  It had a lot of vocabulary that was familiar to students, was in the present tense, and had verb exercises that went along with it, which was primarily why I used it at the beginning of German 2 as a review.

I took the original story and modified it.  I actually ended up creating the reading Top Down - I wrote the third, more detailed version first (based heavily on the original I had), then worked backwards to get the other two versions.  I also added pictures and changed the exercises that go along with the story.

Here's a look at how the stories differ in detail and length:
First reading: 112 words, 1 page
Second Reading: 220 words, 1 1/2 pages
Third Reading: 304 words, 2 pages
I came up with four activities to go along with the reading.  The first looks at comprehension, the second and third get the students to expand on the details of the story, and the fourth gets them to create their own version in comic form.

I had never thought this reading was very difficult for students, but the past few years they had found it very difficult to both understand and do the exercises.  I don't know if it's because we do it right after summer break or what, but I found that this year the students understood the story much better and were much more involved in the extension activities.  With the changes I've made, I feel I could use this later this year with my German 1 students with no problems.

If you're interested in this activity, it's available for free on my TPT account!  Let me know how it goes!

- Frau Leonard


  1. Looks awesome! I like that you did an activity with each level. How long did that take you? I find that my three different versions take about my whole class time (45 minutes).

    I might also have to try writing the last version first. I found my second Embedded Reading wasn't as long as my first.

    1. It took almost a whole class period (about 45 minutes) - some kids weren't able to finish their comics in class (but most did!).

      I also did your Grumpy Cat reading with my German 1 class last week - some of them really got into it! It's the most reading they've had to do in German so far and they seemed to do a great job with it! Can't wait to come up with more Embedded Readings for level 1!