Renowned teachers from 7 international schools in the Yangtze River Delta gathered in Suzhou to attend the sharing session of academic leader in language and literature of VAIE on how to better teach
How would you describe English reading in your memory? Was it boring, dry or painful? Was it happy, delightful or enjoyable? Will you sit down and read a book or even an English book in the information explosion era today?
To rekindle the children’s passion in reading and enhance their English reading proficiency, Ms. Sherri, academic leader in language and literature of VAIE, shared her teaching methods with teachers from international schools in the Yangtze River Delta. The small salon was fun and beneficial.
Ms. Sherri was extensively reported recently for her success in greatly improving the English proficiency of Suzhou students within 7 months. This salon was held on the invitation of the teachers of international schools in recognition of the teaching results of Ms. Sherri to share her teaching experience.
Star Teacher/Sherri Steele
Ms. Sherri, a master in education and an academic leader in language and literature of VAIE, has fifteen years of experience in U.S. public school teaching and years of experience working as academic director of English reading, language and literature, and serves as a special grade teacher tutor in English reading.
“Reading should be passionate and caring. A qualified reader will take the initiative to read,” Ms. Sherri emphasized this philosophy in the class. If a child often encounters difficulties or loses confidence or fun in reading, he will probably give up reading. Based on this philosophy, Ms. Sherri has designed many skills for systematic teaching. For instance, she asked the teachers present to write down the “purpose” of this lesson (or what they want from this lesson), and reminded them of learning about the students’ reading interests with the same approach. She further shared that she would create a reading list of 50 books with different themes for the students. Students can choose their favourite theme and select 15 books out of the list. About book selection, Ms. Sherri drew a fun analogy, “You need to tell the students that reading is like starting a relationship. You never know whether you will like it or not before you get to know it.”
To help the students remove obstacles in reading and get what they want, Ms. Sherri shared her teaching strategy based on Vocabulary, Fluency and Comprehension. During her training on reading, she requires the students to read out loud, so as to check their pause and tone, see whether they can correct the mistakes in the materials and judge whether they truly understand the gist. The students are required to read over 100 words per minute. Only reading at such speed can the readers understand what they are reading. The ideal reading speed is to read 170 to 190 words per minute. Furthermore, she pairs up her students in reading, so that the two students can mutually check reading mistakes of each other. Accurate and valid reading is achieved by correct reading and understanding of words, self correction and mutual correction. “If you don’t know what you are reading, you should stop,” Ms. Sherri said, “Read the context and figure out what you are reading, otherwise it’s invalid reading.”
This salon lasting about 2 hours was attended by about 20 teachers, including Chinese and foreign teachers from well-known international schools in Suzhou, Wuxi and Shanghai.