How do you get your kids to read? Take a leaf out of the books of teachers at Peiying Primary and Qihua Primary. From mystery dates to haikus and more, here are some ideas you can try at home.
By Lim Jun Kang
Don’t judge a book by its cover
P6 students go on a “blind date with a book” during the school’s annual English Language Fiesta. They select a mystery book, which is wrapped in nondescript kraft paper to conceal its title, based just on a brief description of the story and its genre, for instance adventure or fairy tale.
“We wanted to pique the students’ curiosity and expose them to different genres outside of what they usually read,” says Mrs Jennifer Fan, Level Head for English Language. “Many found themselves enjoying the books that they picked up!”
The mystery doesn’t end there. School leaders also appear as “mystery guest readers” and read aloud to lower primary students at the library.
Through this process, teachers show how fun it is to read stories aloud, listen to the words being read with feeling, and inspire students to read more.
Bringing books to life
Peiying Primary’s staff and students also dress up in costumes during the fiesta. In 2022, the theme was ‘Magic and Enchantment’, and many chose to come as characters from the Harry Potter series. “Getting our students excited about dressing up as their favourite magical characters will hopefully trigger a curiosity to read,” says Mrs Fan.
During Qihua Primary Schoo’s English learning festival, teachers appeared in class as book characters. There was Little Miss Giggle from the Little Miss and Mr. Men series, Quincey Mouse from If you give a mouse a cookie, and Camilla Cream from A Bad Case of Stripes.
Students had fun guessing who the teachers had dressed up as, and were interested to read the books in which the characters are found.
Students at Qihua Primary School also play games such as Taboo, Who Wants to Be a Millionaire, Jeopardy or Boggle as part of their lessons.
For instance, Primary 5 students answered questions on grammar and vocabulary in a show of healthy competition in their version of Who wants to be a Millionaire. “We wanted to show the students that they can have fun learning English too, not just playing mobile or computer games,” says Mdm Tan Li Ting, Head of Department for English Language.
English teachers often take students to the school garden to be inspired by nature, and compose their own haikus.
“Inspiration can come from anywhere, and we hope the students can have fun while using their five senses to observe what is in the garden,” says Mdm Tan. “Learning English and getting ideas for writing can happen beyond the classroom.”
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