A Simple Pleasure: Reading Aloud at Xiaochao Primary School
In October, teachers focused on reading stories to their students and then giving students silent reading time. Third grade teacher Ms. Ren Xiaolei read Xili Hulu the Pig by author Sun Youjun.
After finishing one part, she asks the students what they want to say to the characters in the story. During the part where the little pig becomes a bodyguard, here are some comments from students:
“Xili Hulu, congratulations on becoming a bodyguard and helping Mrs. Duck with her shopping. You have to be careful not to run into bandits. Be smart and get the job done!”
“Xili Hulu, you shouldn’t go to help Mrs. Duck. Be careful—you can’t beat them and you will get hurt.”
“Xili Hulu, you are brave to go out in the middle of the night. You are amazing and should be even braver.”
“I want to tell Xili Hulu, 'The idea you came up with is very good and caused your mom to praise you. I want to learn this method from you.”
Once the wolf caught the pig and the students thought about what would happen next. One said,“The pig should say to the wolf, 'Wolf, come eat me.' The wolf will think the pig went crazy and so it will say, 'I can't eat you. You've gone crazy. If I eat you, I will go crazy too.' Therefore, the pig went home.” The whole class laughed with the student who said this.
Another student said,“I now know that if I'm caught by someone, I have to vigorously run away and not cry or shout but lightly run away.”As the teacher read more from the book each class, Xili Hulu Pig walked more and more into the hearts of the students. They laughed with the pig and worried about it, looking forward to the next class to find out what it would do.
Fourth grade teacher Ms. Li Xiaochun read Shen Shixi's animal novels Goral Crossing, Outfoxed Again, and The Seventh Hound. She would choose one short story from each to read to the children and afterwards the book would always be borrowed by one of the students. Even though they had heard it before, they still really wanted to have it in their hands to read again. Thankfully we had prepared a lot of animal novels for the students—enough for one for each person. Sometimes these would be the same book so that children would have something to talk about outside of class.
Sixth grade teacher Shang Haokan has been reading her students a book called Mother Left by German author Ursula Wolfel. There are many similarities between the story and the lives of the children. Although most of our students do have complete families, they don't live with them because their parents often migrate away to work. This caused many students to identify with the book. Ms. Shang said that when she was reading the sad parts of the story, a lot of students had tears in their eyes.
Every period of reading class increases students' deep interest in reading. That's why we've set up book corners in the classrooms so that students can have books within hands reach. In order to cultivate students' interest in reading within the limited forty minutes of reading class, we hope that the sound of teachers' reading and the stories themselves will attract the students.
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