By Tran Van Thang, Vietnam Project Officer.
Lo Thi Minh Vi is a young girl of Thai ethnicity who studies in class 2A8 of satellite primary school in Phuc Than commune in northern Vietnam. When I sat down to talk to her last month, she told me that “Before my classmates and I found library books and read them during short school breaks only – not during school days”.
So usually they could not get to The End of their story books. Cleverly, they left bookmarks so they would know where to continue reading next time. Now, thanks to their teachers partnership with CWS, things have changed and they children have a whole class period for students to read, and learn to read better, in the library. “This is the seventh time for our class taking a reading period in here!”, Vi tells me.
When I asked Vi why she likes having a special reading period, Vi says: “It’s because we can choose the books we want to read, and we can decide where we want to sit and who to read with. Then, after reading we are invited to share what we read with our schoolmates. Once a friend talked about the book she had read, and I liked it so much I checked out the book and read it for myself”.
Ngo Thi Hoa, who is Vi’s teacher, added, “I started using this special teaching-teaching practice after joining a CWS-organized workshop. It’s completely different from our traditional teaching”. In Vietnam, like many countries, students usually follow a rote lesson plan prepared by a teacher and following her instructions. But Ms. Hoa is one teacher who embraces change. “So far, our school has each class go weekly for a library period, after which students are invited to talk about the characters in the stories with the whole class. Students enjoy it very much, so every time I tell them they can go to the library … off they go!”