These Suzhou students have greatly improved their English reading proficiency within 7 months! [Reading Improvement Plan Attached]
In the old town area
On the Jiuxueqian Road,
The tranquil school
Featuring an ultra-high teacher-student ratio
Offers teaching in English
As recently revealed by the school,
The first class of students have made remarkable progress,
Overtaking the U.S. students of the same age in English reading and class hour completion!
These high-performing students are from VNEN Academy of Innovation and Excellence (VAIE)!
You don’t believe it?
We have tapes to prove it!
Now let’s dig into the story of the VAIE students making such amazing progress.
▲A sight from VAIE
VAIE is located on 46 Jiuxueqian Road, Gusu District, Suzhou. In August 2017, the first class of students were enrolled into VAIE to start their special journey of learning. Against the bustle and hustle of the busy downtown area outside of the school gate, the students have been engrossed in study inside the school.
The U.S. teaching of VAIE conducts a periodic academic evaluation on each student every once in a while. Mr. Bert Steel, president of VAIE, spoke highly of the students’ remarkable progress in the overall academic evaluation he wrote personally. He pointed out, “In VAIE, the U.S. educational model has allowed each student to learn in a pace that fit them most, which has given them the opportunity to surpass themselves and their peers academically.”
Systematic Reading Improvement Plan
The substantial progress of the students in English reading is primarily attributed to the customized Reading Strategy for the students. Ms. Sherri, a master in education and an academic leader in language and literature of VAIE, is the major formulator of the Reading Strategy. Fifteen years of experience in U.S. public school teaching and years of experience working as an academic director of English reading, language and literature have made her a special grade teacher tutor in English reading.
▲Ms. Sherri working in the office
Centering on Vocabulary, Fluency and Comprehension, Ms. Sherri has worked out a complete Reading Strategy. After the reading improvement plan is worked out, teachers’ guidance is vital.
Before the students start to read a new book, Ms. Sherri will require the students to build a related knowledge base. For a book about frogs, for example, she will ask, “Do you know about frogs? Do you know how tadpoles turn into frogs?”
On the class, Ms. Sherri shows the students how to read out loud and speak up the thinking process. This approach enables the students to be good readers.
Moreover, Ms. Sherri requires the students to read over 100 words every minute. She explains that it’s impossible for one to gain an overall understanding of the passage from a few words and a short term memory by slow reading, aloud or silently. To train the reading speed of students, she sets the time on the class. For after-class reading, she suggests that students can read audio books along the recording, and press the pause button to read again in the same speed of the recording.
As for how much books to read, Ms. Sherri requests the students to read 20 to 30 minutes every night, and at least 10 English in-class and extracurricular books a year. Thus far, the students of VAIE have read such books as Hunger Game and Hatchet in class. Together with the extracurricular books, each student has at least read 5 books. That’s one book in almost three weeks.
As a mother of four, Ms. Sherri has her own way of developing the kids’ interest in reading. She suggests that parents can be a role model for their kids in reading, inspire the kids to read and choose their own favourite books in the library or bookstore. According to Ms. Sherri, books can be generally divided into two categories: narrative books and popular science books. The core courses of the U.S. require the students to read more popular science books for these books are in relation to science, history, government and law.
In the house of Ms. Sherri, rewards for good behaviors of the kids are not candies but books. She has further set up a family reading club where she discusses about the books from a real life perspective with her kids. All these methods have helped develop her kids’ interest in reading.
U.S. Learning under the 2+1 Model
VAIE adopts the learning model of two years’ learning of U.S. senior high school courses in China and one year’s learning of U.S. public senior high school and college courses in U.S. The CCSS course system, a golden course standard of U.S. senior high school teaching, has been introduced by VAIE to synchronize with the courses learned by the U.S. students. According to Mr. Bert Steel, VAIE students are better motivated than their U.S. peers and capable of completing more academic tasks and gaining more academic knowledge. With the learning hours from 7:40 a.m. to 8:15 p.m., VAIE students have longer learning hours than the students of Utah schools who learn from 7:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. Such a learning environment has contributed to the remarkable growth of academic performance of VAIE students. On April 19, VAIE hosted an award ceremony to encourage students to score excellent academic achievements. This award ceremony will be held on a regular basis to celebrate the students’ success and push them to a greater height.
As pointed out by Mr. Bert Steel, all students of VAIE (including students newly transferred to VAIE) have a GPA of 3.7 which is equal to A-, with the highest GPA reaching 3.894. such GPA performance represent the academic level of students wanted by elites universities in the U.S.
▲A group photo of students holding the certificate of class hour completion with their teachers
Now each student of VAIE has completed 32 class units and one of them has even completed 35 class units. The Utah students generally complete 32 class units a year. Amazed at the progress of VAIE students, Mr. Bert Steel said, “Our students still have two months before this school year ends. In this speed, our student with the highest GPA will be able to complete another 9 class units, putting the total class units to 44. That’s amazing!”