i-Reading Castle is an exciting new addition to our Kid Castle curriculum. We opened our first English library at the end of 2016 at Yangpu School. Recently, the doors have opened at our second location, Beiyangjing School. Bill, the Foreign Teacher Supervisor for Yangpu district and resident Reading Castle teacher, was kind enough to take time out of his busy schedule and let us pick his brains about this English library.
What is i-Reading Castle?
i-Reading Castle is a special program that allows students to improve their English literacy skills. Students can achieve this with the backing of an in-depth and structured system of worksheets and activities. These are specifically designed for each book and cater for students working towards improving their reading abilities. We have combined traditional reading methods with a more modern approach by using an online system.
What is the main aim of this English library?
As this is a library, our main aim of course is to encourage students to read and to improve their literacy skills.
How old are the students?
We accept all students between ages 6-18. However, the majority of our students range from ages 7-14.
Are you the only foreign teacher at the library?
No. At this library we have at least two foreign teachers at any given time as well as two or three Chinese teachers to assist. They are needed most during the initial stage of vocabulary discovery to help check for correct Chinese character translations.
How many books are available to read here?
We have over two thousand books to choose from. Books range from basic children’s stories to more advanced Tolkien-esque literature for the seasoned reader.
How long does it take for students to finish one book?
Usually, students will finish and complete the entire process within 1 lesson block (1.5 hrs). Some of our advanced students read considerably longer books. This means the time it takes to complete a book will vary.
How often do students visit i-Reading Castle?
A lot of the students come once a week. However, there are many students that opt for 2 classes per week.
How does this library differ from other libraries?
We are constantly working with the students but also providing them with their own space to complete assigned work. We also provide individual engagement where students are required to detail specifics about everything they have read to one of our foreign teachers. Teachers and students work together to ensure that comprehension is met by the student before moving on to the next step.
What does a typical day as a Reading Castle teacher/student entail?
As a teacher, a typical day at reading castle entails working closely with students of varying literacy capabilities as they traverse through each reading level. For students, each lesson involves reading a book and completing a series of worksheets and activities based on what they read.
What’s your favorite aspect of i-Reading Castle?
My favorite aspect of i-Reading Castle, as a teacher, is watching the students summarize and explain in a coherent fashion in both written and spoken form, what they just read. At first, many of the students would struggle to string together simple sentences and now they can piece together detailed paragraphs. It’s truly remarkable how 6 months in the i-Reading Castle program has helped so many of our students develop their language skills.
For more updates on our English library, be sure to check out future blog posts.
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