This school year I am using Story Listening and Reading exclusively. No grammar drills. No vocabulary practice. No writing. No speaking exercises. In fact not once did I ask them to speak in German. Cue concerned feedback: "But how will they know how to speak?" - "But will they ever speak?" - "How can you speak if you don't practice it?"
The answer is always the same. They will speak when they are ready to. I don't discourage speaking, I just let them choose the timing. It emerges naturally.
Don't think that's true? Meet two of my students. The following videos were recorded at home in response to a voluntary challenge. The challenge was to watch a video from class and take some toys and stuffed animals, rebuild a scene from the story they chose and then take a photo of it. Notice: Again I did not ask for any speaking.
Here is a short description of the two students:
Age: 8yo/ 9yo
German: total beginner at start of school year with no prior German experience
School: International School in Germany, language: English
Outside German: no other German classes, little input from life in Germany as they are mostly surrounded by English and native language. Not involved in German teams, clubs, etc.
Home country: India
Here are the videos they recorded:
These videos show what these kids are able to produce after 21 hours of instructions that included 28 stories (535min). The stories the children are retelling can be found here:
*Das kleine Blau und das kleine Gelb continued for another 2 minutes that were sent separately and not shown here.