Sunday, June 03, 2007

Story reading is for you, for me, for everyone!

Contrary to popular belief, the self-help groups do open up their programs to people of all races and religions. I volunteer at the Chinese Development Assistance Council's (CDAC) centre at Jurong West and my class of 7 to 8 year olds include some malay students. The photograph above shows two of them. The boy is 7 year old while the girl on the right with her hand outstretched is eight.

I have seen improvement in both their reading abilities and the girl has been in my class for 1.5 year or so. I remember when she first joined the program, she was fun loving (she still is!) but she didn't have the confidence to read in class. Hence, when it came to her turn to read, she wanted to give it a miss. Over time, as she realised the rest of her classmates were having such a fun time participating in the group reading session, she also decided to join in and have improved tremendously in terms of her attitude and approach to reading. Now she sees it as a fun activity and not a compulsory you must do it sort of activity.

You may be wondering how I conduct my kidsREAD classes. Typically, there is a lot of interaction between myself and the children. You have to get children to warm up as some of them are still not in tune to the class when their mothers bring there there. I would get them to talk by asking them about school, whether exams are coming, what date is it today in the calendar and so on. Pretty soon, once everyone starts coming into the class, I will then start the class reading with me leading in one of the big story books and the children will take turn to read each page as I pause, ask them questions and get them involved in the book.

I didn't know that I enjoyed kidsREAD so much until I got myself involved in this volunteer program. Working with children is fun and I am blessed to have a class of relatively well behaved and very smart children. The common denominator is that their families need a helping hand but other than that they are very bright children with very good potential to go far in their academic work.

If you would like to volunteer to work with children, leave a comment and a contact email so that I can follow up with you!

Story reading is a fun and enriching activity and really it's about learning to read in a condusive environment. It is for you, for me for everyone!

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