Encourage reading

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Telling “Room on the Broom” by Julia Donaldson

Sorry for being MIA for so long. My hubby and I have been really busy. I had no idea relocating can be so exhausting! We aren’t even done yet. Our house hunting hasn’t ended. And once we’re done with that, we’d have to think about moving, etc.

Ok, back to a related topic. I’m a strong believer in building a strong foundation right from the start – be it reading or character building. John posted up this article on children and literacy on Facebook recently, and I thought it relevant, so am sharing this here:

McGinty, along with Piasta and a researcher named Laura Justice, designed a research studyto look at the effects of modest changes in the way preschool teachers read to children. McGinty and her colleagues decided to target disadvantaged preschoolers because they frequently end up with reading issues.

For the study, they gave two groups of preschool teachers books for an entire school year — 30 weeks’ worth of books. One group was told to read the books normally; the other was given weekly cards with specific questions the teacher could ask — really just small phrases — that might momentarily draw a child’s attention to the print on the page.

The teachers were told to read their books four times a week, and to point out the print in this way between four and eight times, so that together the small phrases hardly added extra time to their reading sessions — maybe 90 seconds per book.

It is hard to imagine that such a small adjustment would make any difference. It was a series of moments, questions and gestures. How much could that do?

So far, the kids have been followed for two years. They are now in first grade, and according to the most recent findings, which were published in the journal Child Development, even these small changes make a measurable difference.

“Children who focused their attention on print… had better literacy outcomes than those who did not,” says Piasta. “It was very clear.”

For the full story, click here.

Telling ‘The Magic Porridge Pot’

Personally, when I’m not in a classroom setting, I prefer not to use a book when I do my storytelling sessions with children. I want to instill listening skills and encourage imagination, something which I find, lack in children these days. After which I’d ask them to draw creatures/people/things they heard in the story. It’s fun to see what they come up with and the version of their story of the picture they just drew. But of course, methods used depend on your objectives. I guess it’s good to create a balance. What I’d normally do to encourage reading among my students (aged 7-10), is to tell them a story from a book, and ask them to guess the ending but not tell them what it is. Of course the suspense kills them. By the following week, some of them would come back and tell me they asked their parents to buy the book, or they borrowed it from the library, so that they could read the entire story 🙂 Oh gosh…I MISS THEM DEARLY!


2 thoughts on “Encourage reading

    Storyteller John Weaver said:
    June 7, 2012 at 5:23 am

    Nice, Jee Wan! I really agree with your goal of encouraging people’s listening skills & imagination, which is something I’m always doing within my own storytelling. I also encourage, as you do, that children retell the story their own way, providing drawings of how they see the characters events in their own minds. It’s a great way to keep the story going & spreading!

      g1jeewan responded:
      June 7, 2012 at 8:29 am

      Totally! Glad to know we share common goals! 🙂 and your passion and enthusiasm is infectious. Each time I see your posts on Facebook, I feel inspired! Thanks again 🙂

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