In 2012-2013, School Library Sub-section conducted a seed project "Promotion of English Reading through School Library Activities". This project aimed at promoting students’ interest in reading English materials. Emphasis was placed on developing KS1 and KS2 students’ skills of learning to read and reading to learn respectively.
The strategies that the seed schools used are :
Using bilingual reading materials
Leveling of books
Using series books
Collaboration with subjects
Using external help
- CC - Cheung Chau Sacred Heart School
- LT - Lam Tin Methodist Primary School
- SWH - Shek Wu Hui Public School
- TMR - Tong Mei Road Government Primary School
- TKO - Tseung Kwan O Methodist Primary School
- The impacts of the use of bilingual text in promoting English reading:
- KS1 students
- For young children, it encourages parents involvement in their children’s learning. Parents can be actively involved in their children’s English reading although their English knowledge was limited, by reading the Chinese text or by telling a story in Chinese.
- To have parents read with the children in their native tongue helps children to understand the content. Children can concentrate in the discussion during the English book talks in lessons.
- It is found that KS1 students benefit from this strategy. Their reading interests have increased. It is worth noting that the availability of buddies at schools to support their English reading is a crucial factor for the success of the strategy.
- There were obvious improvements in the competency of a group of KS1 students who used leveled materials.
- KS2 students
- It benefits students in KS2. It was observed that students compared the Chinese text to the English text when they encountered vocabulary or sentences that they did not understand. This helped them understand the content of the text.
- Students were more motivated if they were given a post reading task related to the subject assignment.
- For those students with good confidence in reading the English text, providing them with an outline in Chinese would be sufficient.
- It is found that the provision of bilingual text is a strategy suitable for young students and students with lower English competency. It can be used at the beginning of the programme to build up confidence of students in reading English materials.
- Book levels should fit students’ levels. Students have no interest in reading books which are under their levels. They become bored if the texts are too simple and underage. In contrast, if there are too many vocabulary words or the contents are too difficult, they will lose confidence and subsequently lose interest in the books. The teachers have come across different tools for leveling of English books at schools, for example, lexile.com, PM system, etc. It is found that collaboration with English/ Net teachers and using leveling books can greatly enhance the performance of students.
- Activities stimulate students’ reading interest and create atmosphere in reading. Joyful experiences in the activities bring students happy memories and emotion when they read. If the activities and the reading programme have a common theme, it can boost students’ reading interest. For example, one of the schools organised an English puppet show about hero for KS2 students. This theme coincided with the English reading theme of the school. The activity was very well received by the students.
- Buddy Reading scheme proves to be a useful means to increase students’ confidence in reading. All the schools using this strategy selected mentors from KS2.
- The scheme proves to be helpful for students who do not have English support at home.
- All the schemes provide chances for younger students to read aloud the English texts.
- Mentors learnt more vocabulary in the process of helping the younger ones to read. Both mentors and mentees benefited from the programme.
- Teachers agreed that the mentors should receive training. Ongoing meetings/ training sessions should be provided for the mentors.
- The use of series titles is an effective strategy to motivate students to read English books. For instance, one seed teacher first gave book talks on a series, then arranged mentors to read a few series titles with the KS1 mentees. Many mentees borrowed other titles in the series spontaneously. It was observed that familiar characters, structures and settings in the series titles did provide confidence and comfort to many students and encouraged them to pick up English books to read.
- Themed reading related to subjects provides chances for students to understand the knowledge learnt from subjects more thoroughly.
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Seed schools Cheung Chau Sacred Heart School Lam Tin Methodist Primary School Shek Wu Hui Public School Tong Mei Road Government Primary School Tseung Kwan O Methodist Primary School
Reference resources Questionnaire for Parents Questionnaire for KS1 Students Questionnaire for KS2 Students Questionnaire for English Teachers Recommendations of Reading Materials by Participating Teacher-librarians