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February 29, 2012

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Home » Feature » Education

WISS fosters a love of books

ONE of our aims at WISS is to "foster a love of reading, for pleasure as well as academic achievement, and an interest in literature of all forms." Easy words to say but how do we achieve this in an age where children are more interested in computer games, instant messages and going online?

At WISS we make it as easy as possible for our students to have access to a well-stocked library with a range of materials in a wide range of languages, not just English and Chinese. The library is open every day and is an inviting space with bean bags, chairs and tables and lots of natural light so it is a place that students like to visit.

All students in early and primary years visit the library once per week where they are given time to choose their own books and listen to stories being read out loud.

Older students come in for silent reading, to do research or to look at the wide selection of magazines including titles like "Seventeen," "TopGear" and "Games TM."

Every year we hold a Book Week where we invite authors to visit, hold a Book Fair where students can buy their own books and have a range of reading events including a school reading day, where secondary students go into the primary school to read stories.

The key to creating good reading habits is sparking student interest. When a student says "I don't read!" our reply is "You just haven't found the right reading material yet." Being open-minded and prepared to find things that students want to read is the answer. Also letting students choose is an important way of keeping them interested and fostering that love of reading, which research tells us helps students improve academically.

(Fiona Collins is head librarian of Western International School of Shanghai.)


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