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Gomi and the 16 Verbs

My Friends by Gomi Taro is one of my most enjoyable picture books to use, (with children, teens, as well as adults). It has brilliant vocabulary, wide applications, and a depth of material that allows you to build cards, make worksheets, develop games and use posters, yet so simple in concept.



The book has 16 sentences following the structure of “I learned to walk from my friend the cat.” That means 16 different “friends” and as many verbs. So with “friends” plus verbs, I have made 32 cards. After reading the story once, I ask the group to recall how many “friends” appear in the story. We have some fun guessing – “higher”, “lower”. Then I ask students to recall the “friends”. As they do, I produce that “friend” card for them. If there is time, and it is appropriate, I’ll ask them to recall the verbs that go with each “friend”.


Later, even in subsequent lessons, we can do a matching memory game, in which they may reproduce the structure.


In some lessons, I may focus on the verbs, and use them to make new sentences.  I can use it as a listening exercise. Working in pairs, or a small group, I’ll have them add sentences about what they learned and who taught them, for example, “I learned to ride a bicycle from my brother”, “I learned to be kind from my parents.”


Here are the cards that I made based on the book; left are “friends”, right are verbs. I did modify some of the images to make them suitable for cards.  I made the ant bigger, the gorilla smaller, I pasted some of the background page objects next to the main image, otherwise they would be lost. I added the heart to make the “love” card. One option that I used here is putting the vocabulary word on the front.



The verbs; climb, watch, march, nap, kick, sing, play, run, smell, walk, explore, jump, love, hide, read, study.


The friends; dog, friends at school, bird, rabbit, ant, crocodile, owl, rooster, butterfly, gorilla, cat, monkey, horse, you, books, teachers.


I’m sure there are countless variations to use this resourse that I haven’t thought of. As a raw material with multiple applications, it is priceless. As always, I am happy for any discussion below.


thanks for reading!



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