25 Sep, 2023
10 : 35
"I know that extensive reading is particularly important for children, but my child just doesn't like to read."
"It is harder than ascending to Heaven to make him sit quietly and read for 30 minutes. He just keeps touching things, going to the bathroom, and asking all kinds of questions."
"Teacher, my child doesn't like to read paper books, but prefers to listen to audio books on apps. Is that okay?"
"My child likes to watch short videos that can summarise a book in 3 minutes instead of finishing the reading assignment. Is this acceptable?"
Are these questions about children's reading familiar? We all know the importance of reading for language learning, however, there are still many questions related to children's reading habits. For example, how do we inspire their interest in reading, how does one select high-quality books, how do we balance reading time with other academic tasks, and how do we avoid superficial reading that leads to a fast food culture? The teachers from the YWIES Tongxiang Reading Programme have accumulated extensive experience and conducted careful research on these issues, and have decided to establish a school-wide reading programme to help students improve their reading skills and cultivate a love for reading.
The rose represents romance and love, while books represent knowledge and power. We hope that YWIES Tongxiang students can use the power of knowledge to discover the beauty in life and be able to feel this love of reading in their lives.
How can children develop an interest in reading?
Studies shows that once children associate reading with pleasure, motivation is generated, and the brain's resources will be allocated to reading. Therefore, in the "Rose and Book" reading programme, we have added a lot of "fun" elements.
What are the specific fun activities included in the programme?
Launch A Reading Marathon
The full length of a marathon is 42.195 kilometres, and completing it requires several hours of endurance, stamina, and the ability to control one's pace - it is a comprehensive system engineering. The concept of a reading marathon draws inspiration from this idea.
Bringing about such a challenge also requires strategic planning. How can we prevent students from feeling that it is "not related to them", "not interesting", or "just something to be dealt with"? How can we maximize their positive reaction towards challenge and make them feel that reading can be as fun as "levelling up" or "playing house"? Our approach is to combine it with the school's academic system.
At the beginning of the school year, students are randomly assigned to one of the four houses. In order to earn points for their respective house and promote the spirit, a series of academic, artistic, and physical competitions are organized for students. We have therefore linked the reading marathon activity with the house point system to stimulate the students' interest in books. It is a good beginning that students have the willingness to start reading regardless of the initial motive. Only by starting and being on the journey can we continuously adjust and progress. Actions speak louder than words!
Create A Reading Atmosphere
Education is not just a moment, but every moment. The best teachers are always more than just teachers - they set the best example, just as a book does. Only when students feel that our teachers love reading and enjoy it together with them, will this "fighting side by side" approach make them more willing to try. We need moments like this: For a scheduled 15 minutes during the week, the school broadcast system will announce repeatedly: DEAR Time (Drop Everything and Read) please put everything out of your hands, pick up a book and start reading. These small activities are easy to operate and make the students feel that reading is not always boring, it can also be fun.
Promote Whole Book Reading
Whole book reading is the first learning task group introduced by the new curriculum standard, and its value and significance are self-evident. The teaching method based on whole book reading not only makes students' knowledge system more structured, but also enriches their knowledge and reading experience.
In each year level, we have selected different materials for the whole book reading activity. For example, in Grade 1, we chose "If the Earth Were a Few Feet Smaller"; in Grade 2, "The Story of Raccoon"; in Grade 3, "Charlotte's Web"; in Grade 4, "The Sound of the Willow Wind", and in Grade 5, "Little Women"... Centred around the books, teachers and students adopt a collective reading approach, which includes defining the basic process, thinking about questions while reading, and paying attention to the methodology, etc. These will be studied and discussed through guided lessons, progress lessons. Of course, real reading is personalised, so we also fully respect each child's individual reading interests, therefore finding a balance between group reading and individualised reading.
The whole-book reading program in secondary this year has progressed based on previous experience. This semester, the Chinese department and the English Department will carry out bilingual whole-book reading, that is, Chinese and English teachers will work together to jointly teach selected books ("War Horse" in grade 6, "Lord of the Flies" in grade 7 and grade 8) to deepen the understanding of literary works, as well to improve students' bilingual reading ability.
The whole-book reading programme is consistent with our values at Yew Chung and Yew Wah, where we support children learning multiple languages naturally and encourage children to use language to solve learning and social problems. At the same time, we are committed to building a bilingual learning community and hope that bilingual reading can help us realize this vision.
Launch Tonghua Magazine Programme
At YWIES Tongxiang, we value not only children's reading, but also their output. We have launched the Tonghua Magazine programme, which embeds the name of the school in its title and represents teachers' appreciation and expectations for students' writing talents. The content is rich and the questions are diverse, showcasing students' wide-ranging interests and unique creativity. Writing is a journey of self-reconstruction, and there is never a perfect moment for it. Writing does not start after we have read 100 books - it is happening right now. After reading any book, our current thoughts, ideas, and feelings are the source of inspiration for our writing. The magazine programme also provides students with an opportunity to showcase the power of reading to their peers, the school, the community, and the world.
The influence of education is subtle, and we hope that this reading activity will push YWIES Tongxiang students forward with an invisible force. Stay tuned for more exciting activities!