By Tran Van Thang, CWS Project Officer.
Hoang Thi Nu is a little girl of the Thai ethnic group living in Muong Kim commune, where CWS partners with schools to improve student learning environments, including the library and the reading activities it promotes.
Nu is in Grade 5, which is the last grade of primary school in Vietnam, and she was introduced to me as a very active member of the core student team for improving the school library. In responding to my question about her team, Nu eagerly shared that the team was created just last semester by the head teacher and the librarian after they returned from the CWS-hosted Child-friendly Library training workshop. Nu and her team buddies were, in turn, trained by the librarian when she, with support from a CWS staff member, organized the training in early 2018.
“In fact, our school has an outdoor library for student reading”, Nu told me, “And when our team was set up, a few team members and I were assigned to be in charge of this outdoor reading place. Honestly, at that time, my buddies and I did not know about child-friendly libraries at all. All we could do was bring books to the outdoor space in the morning, and bring them back to the library in the afternoon. We repeated this every day.
However, things changed after the training! Now we know from teacher Phan, our librarian, how to make our efforts more useful and friendlier for other students to use our reading space. We classified the books by theme as well as difficulty to match student reading abilities from Grade 1 to Grade 5. Together with teacher Phan we also defined and color-coded book categories, and we guided our fellow students to understand the codes so it became very easy to use our library! Besides, we also know now how to record students’ time in the library and their book use.
I feel very happy that through our work with Ms. Phan, our library is now more child-friendly! It’s great that the use of our books is increasing. As I’m now almost finished with primary and will move on to junior secondary school in September, and I hope my next school has an outdoor reading space like this and I can continue serving my new friends in the new school”.
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