It's been two months since we began working with the third graders at Dong Wu Xing Primary School. September was mostly spent raising students' interest in reading and giving them time and space to read independently. October was focused on improving their reading comprehension and their participation in reading activities.
This semester we will begin working with a new partner school, Dong Wu Xing Primary School. It has about 130 students who live in the surrounding village. At this school there is one period a day for reading. We will use this time to teach students some effective reading strategies and methods. In out-of-class time, we will also give students more opportunities to do meaningful reading writing and practice.
During the summer vacation, three RCEF curriculum developers and I went to Shanxi Qikou to attend a conference on rural reading education put on by Beijing Brooks NGO and the organization “Awaiting Spring". Beijing Brooks NGO had set up local libraries in Qikou for several rural primary schools. The purpose of the conference was to share experiences around the effective use of libraries for organizing reading activities and improving students' interest and abilities in reading.
This summer when the staff came together to reflect on the year, each teacher discussed the feelings they had from their educational experimentation. The one thing that was most comforting was that our reading project has already begun to bear fruit.
At Guan Ai School, every class has a daily reading period. Students can read books of their choosing from the school library or classroom book corners. Teachers will occasionally also organize activities such as storytelling, reading aloud, or book discussions.
On April 7th, RCEF was fortunate to invite 26 teachers, students, and parents from Trinity School in Menlo Park, California to the city of Yongji to visit Guan Ai School and Xiaochao School. The experience that made the deepest impression on me was my discussion with Librarian Becky Zeren. From that conversation I gathered some key lessons about book management and reading methods. I hope to share these with my fellow educators.
Developing and teaching a bookmaking class at Guan Ai School this past summer was an incredibly rewarding experience for me. I love teaching and took advantage of the summer vacation to develop a ten day activity class at the school. Though I developed the curriculum, most important to the class was my partnership with two local Guan Ai teachers: Ms. Xie and Principal Sun.