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Schenk mir eine Geschichte - Family Literacy

Schenk mir eine Geschichte - Family Literacy

This programme trains cultural and linguistic mediators to work with migrant families in their own languages to develop young children’s language skills.

Age group

Preprimary Age

Policy Area

Creating a literate environment

People Involved

Families, Librarians, Teacher and educational specialist, ECEC staff/ care takers


• Encourage parents to use their own resources to stimulate children’s language development
• Raise awareness of local resources and events available to support children's language development
• Promote literacy in children’s home language
• Parents recognize the importance of good first language skills
• Create a positive public perception of multilingualism


The Swiss Institute for Child and Youth Media (SIKJM) programme Schenk mir eine Geschichte (Send me a story) supports immigrant parents in developing  the resources and skills to support their children’s language development in both their home and second language. The focus of this intervention programme is on  raising parents’ awareness of their own role in young children’s language development and the importance of using their home language. It draws on literature which recognises that first language skills are vital in children's second language learning and literacy development, as well as later school success. It targets children between the ages of two and five growing up with two or more languages, and their extended families.

The programme aims to reach the most disadvantaged sections of the population – families with a migrant background - and tries to operate in areas with a large disadvantaged community.

At the heart of this programme are the trained facilitators who speak the participants’ home language and are familiar with their cultural background. They act as linguistic and cultural mediators and are trained to work with families to support them in developing strategies to stimulate children's home language development. These mediators receive training from early years education and literacy specialists organised by SIKJM.

Schenk mir eine Geschichte builds on the idea that parents, grandparents other family members and children explore language together through story sessions, language-based rhymes and games, and activities in families home language as well as in German. These sessions take place in libraries, local community centres and schools and are part of a programme of  between eight to 12 sessions offered to families. Facilitators also conduct home visits and introduce parents to local facilities for families with pre-school children in order to raise awareness of the resources and events available to support young children's language development. Information about the training course for facilitators as well as flyers for families is available in several languages.

By the end of 2014 more than 1,500 families had participated in Schenk mir eine Geschichte in 14 Swiss cantons and the programme now operates in 17 languages.

Project website

Schenk mir eine Geschichte - Family Literacy

Project Materials

Information about the basic training course for "Schenk mir eine Geschichte"

Flyers for families are available in different languages (Albanian, Arabic, Portuguese, French, German, Tamil, Turkish, etc.).
A leaflet for parents How my child discovers language is available in German, Albanian and Turkish.