This semester, our third grade students in the Dong Wu Xing Village Primary School had many opportunities to discuss books that they read. Before starting a discussion, the teacher would choose a suitable book based on students’ reading level and background. The students would then read the book using different formats. Sometimes the teacher would read aloud to the students and sometimes the students would read in small groups, pairs, or independently. The teacher prepared discussion questions and encouraged students to bring up question they wanted to discuss. This helped them to cultivate their thinking skills and empathy with characters and situations in the books.
Dong Wu Xing Primary School is one of our partner schools. It is about 10 kilometers from Yongji City and has about 130 students. They come from three surrounding villages. The school buildings are the most dilapidated we have seen in Yongji. There is no playing field, no fences. Originally it was slated for closure but because of the principal and village head's efforts—and its location in a village that was critical during the anti-Japanese war—it has been able to remain open.