By Helen Ku, Head of Chinese Studies
How to Cultivate Student’s Reading Habits
Reading not only improves elementary students' language ability and writing ability, it increases and strengthens their knowledge while developing independent thinking and problem solving.
TIS is an English-speaking school. In order to encourage elementary students to learn Chinese well within a limited class time, we encourage cultivating good habits of reading Chinese books outside of school.
Good reading habit is dependant on teachers' training and guidance. When we are teaching students how to read or leading them to read, we also teach them to apply the methods of comprehension, analyses, or concepts they have gained in class into daily readings. When students learn the text themselves, we evaluate whether the students’ reading methods are correct and guide them according to their aptitude.
In class, we focus on teaching methods while out of class we focus on extracurricular development. In-class time is limited but extracurricular time is unlimited. The methods taught to students are to help them study independently.
It is mandatory for students take a book home to read every week. We ask them to do different reading exercises according to grade requirements. Some students are asked to rewrite beautiful words or phrases, or do reading comprehension exercises while others write book reviews and many other activities. Setting up a "Book Corner" is another way to allow students use their spare time to read. Organising storytelling contests is our strategy of inspiring all the students to participate in public speaking and storytelling. Winners from each class will earn a spot to participate in the grade competition. The final winners will be awarded with certificates.
Library visits are held frequently to improve their interests in reading. We encourage students to feel free to borrow books from the library. Recently, Mandarin teachers bought more than 1,200 Chinese books. They are currently being coded into our library system and will be available for students to borrow soon.
Parents can also play an active role in creating a good reading environment for children at home by encouraging kids to read or by reading with them. This will help cultivate children's good reading habit.