Developing passionate, engaged and motivated readers has brought together Globeducate´s worldwide community of teachers and school librarians, under the leadership of Education Director Oanh Crouch.
In her recent podcast interview with Dan Worth, a TES Senior Editor, Oanh explained, “Part of my role is to really capture and harness the expertise and experience across our group so that we can share the knowledge and improve upon our practice and the provision that we offer – regardless of the curriculum the schools are offering.
“To do this, we always begin with what the research is telling us but we critically analyse it, too. We look at the source, we think about the results and engage in professional dialogue to come to conclusions about the next steps.”
Many of our teachers had expressed concern about the gap in reading ability between Primary and Secondary students and so, with 40 educators involved, a new virtual community investigated different schools, spoke to experts, collaborated on findings and – after eight months of collaborating online – half of the community was able to meet at Agora Sant Cugat International School, Barcelona.
“It was a fantastic opportunity for colleagues to meet and connect names and faces – we broke into groups, discussed our findings and experience and made action plans to take back to schools,” explains Oanh. “We developed a self-audit checklist for schools, we shared activities and resources and planned how schools could celebrate World Book Day. Through our online community, teachers also shared photos to inspired changes in our school reading environments.”
The 2019-2020 academic year saw our schools take part in the Globeducate Reading Challenge, Poetry Slam Challenge, Extreme Reading Challenge and a webinar with British children´s poet Paul Cookson. During the 2020-21 academic year, our Globeducate virtual Reading Community will build on last year´s initiatives and we will launch our new Reading Menu project.”
What our teachers say about our Globeducate Reading Community:
“The reading community is a great way to bounce ideas off other teachers, creating a collaborative space to increase the enjoyment and engagement of our students in reading.”
Kerryn Koh, Coruña British School
“Being part of the Reading Community has provided me with a great platform for the sharing of ideas and information. To be able to come together with colleagues from all over the world, to benefit from the knowledge of those who all share a love of reading … it is priceless.”
Penelope Burnell, from Agora Portals International School
“ICS Paris Reading Community is highly important because it provides an educational experience based on the uniqueness of each of our students that will enhance and prepare each one for a lifetime of high achievement.
Our students, teachers, staff and families all invested in our reading community and they were role models. Our efforts resulted in boosting school performance, increasing vocabulary and raised the self-esteem of our students.”
Mona Smatt, ICS Paris
What we´ve learnt: Top tips from our Reading Community Teachers
“The earlier the better! Instilling a love of reading comes from a child associating reading with warm, family time early on. No-one is too old to be read to so just because your child can read independently, don’t stop reading to them at bedtime or whenever else works for your family. Making trips to the library a regular family outing where they see you choosing books for yourself as well is a great way to make reading part of family life as is a trip to a book shop where children can have the pleasure of choosing a book to own as well. Even though the more a child reads for pleasure, the better their academic grades will be, reading for pleasure is not about achievement. It’s fine to read an ‘easy’ book sometimes or to reread a book that you really love. We can gently nudge our children into trying new reading experiences but shouldn’t make reading a test or an onerous task.”
Annalise Taylor, ICS London
“Give them time and complete freedom to choose their reading material. Understand that reading doesn’t only mean classics or books that we want them to read. It can be articles and non fiction on any topic they love. And yes, it can be on a tablet! Also, model the love of reading. Telling a kid to read if you don’t read yourself isn’t going to wash!”
Michael Knight, Rome International School
“As a librarian, I have found the key to fostering a love of reading is in something that, although it sounds simple, is not always easy: finding the right book. This means playing the long game, getting to know students through a series of small interactions that have absolutely nothing to do with reading, and remembering tiny details that might just unearth your literary way in. Ultimately, if you are able to make the right recommendation at the right time, you will almost certainly turn a “reluctant” into a reader. It is also in remembering that not all reading must evolve from fantasy or fiction. For some, it pays to show that reading gives rise to autonomy, authority and just a little bit of anarchy, that it doesn’t need to be born of other worlds and furtive imagination but can reside in fact, information and the quest to simply know more.”
Kate Macdonald, Southlands International School