Today we arrived at the school to show the children the benefits of good reading. The aim was to reinforce drama and audibility in story telling and to make reading fun and interesting for younger readers.
When we arrived, the school was full of children, with headmaster present but no teachers. We learned that the teachers went into town to collect materials for the election campaign however we were expected to continue with our training. Classrooms were full of children, with very young ones seated at their desks and older ones keeping the school running. The children were extremely excited to see us and many have already got to know my name, I heard “Jadzia, Jadzia, good morning Madame Jadzia” everywhere. One girl walked up to me and with a serious face and asked to carry my bag into class. Childen were so good here and I felt so rewarded to be with them.
I peeked into one of the classrooms and saw one young boy standing up and reading aloud numbers 1-10 in English from the blackboard. I was extremely impressed with how keen these children were to learn, however I later found out that these pupils did not understand what they were actually reading as everything was based on repetiton and often teachers did not have a full understanding of all the materials.
The pupils we were visiting were much older, P5 and P6 pupils. We were there to train them so they could read to the younger ones in P1 and P2. David, the project manager, explained to children why we were here. We emphasised the techniques of good reading by demonstrating to children how to read well.
The story, which I read to children this time round, was about a “Noisy Farm”. The children were mesmerised by the story, the book was interactive with sounds and the children enjoyed pressing the button, to hear the sound of a tractor. They giggled and laughed. I laughed with them too and was very happy. We broke them up into groups and asked a child from one group to tell a story to the rest. We staright away could see two brighter children, which could read well but were in the younger group and lacked confidence. The point was to get the children to read out loud and to interpret their stories in imaginative ways using pictures even if they could not fully underestand the translations. A very shy boy stood up and started to read alound a story of “The Gingerbread Man”. He was one of the youngest boys from P5 and this book was one of the hardest to read. I was astonished how well he could read despite being the youngest in the class. I praised him for his reading and encouraged him to use dramatic techiques to tell the children the story. He was so pleased to be able to show me and his collegues what he could do and to be praised in front of the younger ones.
I was extremely proud of what Lively Minds was doing here. At the end the visit, children understood what we asked them to do and despite the lack of teachers at the beginning of our session, the visit went well and was well recieved by the children and the headteacher. We knew we still had some work to do and I could not wait to return! All the children did not want to let us go but waived goodbye to us for now and anticpated our next visit.