German author Jutta Richter reads to Carmel High School students

By Mark Ambrogi

From left, CHS German teacher Angelika Becker and German author Jutta Richter. (Photo by Mark Ambrogi)

From left, CHS German teacher Angelika Becker and German author Jutta Richter. (Photo by Mark Ambrogi)

Carmel High School’s German language students recently received a rare treat.

Jutta Richter, a celebrated German children’s author, read her book in German to German III, IV and V students at the school Feb. 9. Richter was in the midst of a 17-day tour, which was sponsored by the Goethe Institut, a non-profit German cultural association.

“I hope they will find it inspiring,” Richter said.

Richter was reading her book, with a translated title, “I’m Just the Dog Around Here.”

CHS German teacher Angelika Becker said she learned from a colleague at Antietam High School in Reading, Pa., about Richter. The colleague had met Richter in Germany several years ago.

“She and I taught one of Frau Richter’s books together,” Becker said. “She taught it in Pennsylvania, and I taught it to our students a couple of years ago. We got together and made a lesson plan for it. We presented that at our national conference. We wrote a lesson plan for another book that Frau Richter wrote. So there are now three or four lesson plans that are designed for American learners of German based on this authentic German literature. For us as teachers, it’s very exciting to have her here.”

Students of Becker’s colleague in Reading, Pa., watched the presentation through a video. Junior Allyson LaFon, who takes German IV, said it was beneficial.

“I want to be a writer when I grow up,” LaFon said. “So a lot of her story resonated with me to continue writing.”

LaFon said she was encouraged to read some of Richter’s books in German. LaFon said she didn’t quite understand every word Richter read but got the gist of it.

Richter was originally supposed to visit in November but had to cancel because of illness.

“This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity,” Becker said.

And a last chance, Richter said. After this tour, she said doesn’t plan to make any more trips to the U.S. to visit classrooms.

Becker, who was born in Germany, moved to the U.S. in 1992.

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