App helps children learn te reo Māori

App helps children learn te reo Māori
Hilary Beaton
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App helps children learn te reo Māori

Proving popular with young and old, Gore Library's StoryWalk combines the love of reading with a walk in the park.

Gore Library Assistant, Teresa Blackbeard, instigated a Storywalk® in Gore during COVID lockdown and has been changing the story every six weeks.

I whakaaro noa au (I wonder if) written and illustrated by Kay Mortimer to help her mokopuna with their te reo Māori, was featured just in time for Te Wiki o te Reo Maori — Maori language learning week. This is Gore’s first bilingual StoryWalk, and pages from the bilingual book are displayed on panels along the trail, which begins at the Gore Gardens

‘‘Every page is a different animal doing something crazy and weird and wonderful. It’s a fun book for everybody to enjoy.’’ Teresa said.  

This StoryWalk was particularly special because of a new feature to help with pronunciation. “People could use an app on their phones to help learn te Reo Māori.”

Using a QR Code, the story pops up at each section where it can either be read or listened to.  The story is narrated by Whaea Jaki Eales. 

“As you’re reading, if you want to learn how it should sound then, this is a fantastic opportunity to help people with their pronunciation.’’ said Mrs. Eales, ‘‘It’s such a blessing to be part of this journey. I’m so glad the Gore District Library invited me to read for them.’’

Pupils from the Tapanui School te Reo Māori reading group and children from KidzWay Early Learning Centre were among the first to do the new StoryWalk. Tapanui School pupil Charlie Roulston (8) said she enjoyed answering the questions about different animals in the story.

‘‘The first one was ‘i whakaaro noa au’, I wonder if bees can swim. But bees can’t swim because their wings will get too wet. If it was true, you’d say ae and if it wasn’t you’d say kao.

Doing the StoryWalk had taught her how to say new words in te Reo Māori, Charlie said.

What a great way to celebrate Te Wiki o te Reo Maori — Maori language learning week.

Edited from the original article published in the Ensign 

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