School Improvement Plan-Promoting Reading Culture in Schools

                                                   School Improvement Plan

http://www.dailymotion.com/video/x18l5v4_<wbr

                                           Promoting Reading Culture in Schools

Introduction

 Due to increased accountability, the educational institutions of the modern era are being asked to impart quality education to all their students, regardless of the differences in their capabilities as well as social backgrounds. No school can claim to be the best without continuously adapting and improving its teaching strategies in accordance with the changing times. Therefore, improvement has become a permanent feature of school practice.

Our elite private schools are considered one of the best in Pakistan. Even though these schools have a high student achievement level, there is still room for further improvement which can be brought about by promoting a reading culture. It has been observed, generally, that our students and their parents are not much involved in reading activities. In this age of science and technology, if we can manage to entice our children long enough from computer and console games to develop their interest in reading, we can turn them into lifelong readers, writers and learners.  

“…finding ways to engage students in reading may be one of the most effective ways to leverage social change.” This is the conclusion of a report, based on the findings of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development’s Programme for International Student Assessment (OEC

The objective of this paper is to develop an action plan which would promote a reading culture amongst our young learners for further improving the standard of education in our schools. A timeline for a realistic achievement of the goals has also been given. Some success indicators have been mentioned, along with the assessment tools and evaluation and monitoring strategies.

 The importance of an Effective Reading Programme

 Once students start enjoying reading, they develop an interest in their curriculum too. Therefore, for the past few decades, UNESCO has been urging educators to initiate effective reading programmes at schools. The purpose of an effective reading programme is to develop the child’s ability to grasp the meaning of what is being read, by teaching him or her how to analyse a sequence of ideas and make logical conclusions (Irwin, 1967).

 Need Analysis

 Realizing the significance of reading in converting our students into lifelong learners, we need to embark on an ambitious reading program. Although most of the students are good at reading, sometimes a few encounter difficulty in comprehending the given text. The results of previous reading comprehension activities show that their reading skills need to be further polished.

 As students spend a major amount of their time with their parents, their role in bringing about the desired change cannot be ignored. Reading development involves the participation of children, parents, educators and the community as a whole.

 School Improvement Plan

 Promoting reading culture amongst all schools need to be an ongoing process. To promote reading culture, the schools initially need to encompass the following main areas:

 Our Goal

 Our main goal is to improve the learning process in our school by promoting pleasure reading amongst our young learners. Parents and community play a vital part in helping us to achieve this goal.

 Further Explanation of the Main Goal

 A visual profile for the reading culture should be created in each school. Creative ideas may be taken from the internet. Links can be made with other schools to develop a more coordinated approach towards reading. Book fairs should be held once a term to provide books at discounted rates. As we want to increase parental support in the reading program and school activities, awareness about their role in the reading improvement program will be developed through informal meetings at school.

 Overall responsibility for Leading

 The overall responsibility for leading this ambitious one year program rests with the administration, teacher leaders, librarian, as well as, the rest of the teaching staff.

 Success Indicators

 We will know that the reading culture is being promoted when more and more parents will borrow books from the school library. Children will be able to read more fluently and spell new words. Their progress through the reading levels will be a sign of their progress. Also, while doing comprehension activities, they will be able to work independently.

 Evaluation

Class teachers and the librarian will regularly monitor the reading capabilities of students through diagnostic testing. They will use checklists to gather information about the reading capabilities of students. Levels of reading competencies will be monitored through reading competitions too. This would enable teachers to find out to what extent significant progress is being made by students, especially the less able ones. Students will also evaluate their performance themselves with the help of their teachers

Informal meetings will be arranged with parents to discuss the success of efforts made to promote pleasure reading. Feedback would be provided to the administration and duly recorded for further consideration.

 Key Tasks

 Newsletters and other school publicity materials can be used to promote the importance of all kinds of reading. Students may be encouraged to help the art teacher in developing creative displays. All the corridors, school entrances and classrooms should reflect the reading culture of our school. Posters of popular book characters can be displayed on the soft boards, doors or any other suitable area.

 Staff members should promote reading inside and outside the classrooms. Each student can be asked to read quietly for fifteen minutes. Teachers would monitor them and provide support whenever needed. Sometimes teachers can play on the tape recorder some stories which they have pre-recorded in their own voice. Pupils, either individually or in groups, can read along with the teacher as the tape plays.

 Teachers can be encouraged to use Howard Gardner’s theory of multiple intelligences while planning different activities for the pupils.

 Additionally, pupils’ recommendations in making pleasure reading successful can be sought. They may be asked to provide feedback regarding the kind of books they would like to see in their library.  Information about the educational needs of students can be collected through surveys or questionnaires. This would enable teachers to plan support tasks for the less able ones. The fluent readers may be awarded some token like a certificate, or maybe a badge, for doing excellent reading.

 Students should also be encouraged to write book reviews regularly. They should be provided with opportunities to read aloud during the morning assemblies or any other suitable time.  

 Also, several reading events are held in the world like the World Book day and Children’s Book week. Hence, the same practice would be followed in our schools too. Reading competitions should also be held twice a term and the parents would be invited to such events.

 Advantage of the internet should be taken to link each school with other local and international schools. This would enable us to share our reading experiences with them and learn from each other.

 Once a week, during the library period, parents/volunteers can be invited to come and sit with children and help them read. This practice would take no more than 30 minutes, but would provide children an opportunity to learn a lot.

 All the teachers and students who participate with enthusiasm in promoting the reading culture should be publicly acknowledged and awarded certificates.

 Resources Needed for Developing and Enhancing the Reading Culture

 A workshop should be conducted by the school administration to familiarize the teachers with Howard Gardner’s theory of multiple intelligences based on the fact that children have different ways of learning and processing information.

 The librarian and the administration would have to ensure that the library is welcoming and all the resources are easily accessible to students. Interesting posters and displays should be set up to motivate students to use library.  Posters of popular book characters can be made by students. Most of the class rooms are already equipped with tape recorders; the rest can share.  

Second hand books in satisfactory condition will be purchased to equip the school library. Different classes can exchange their books with each other. Students and the local community will be requested to donate books. Book shop owners may be contacted for arrangement of book fairs.

 For getting registered with online reading activities, the services of those teachers who are well versed with IT skills will be used. They can be requested to printout certificates and badges for the fluent readers.

 The class teachers should recruit suitable volunteers to help children read in school during their library period. Training sessions would be organised during the summer vacation for the volunteers and all class teachers will provide their input in them. The school administration needs to continuously monitor their work.

 Conclusion

 Through systematic implementation of the above mentioned simple strategies, the reading culture of our schools would be visible to all. By promoting reading for pleasure in each school; we can empower our students to become lifelong learners and have successful careers.  As Jim Knight, Minister of State for Schools and Learners, in the United Kingdom, very rightly commented that “Reading for pleasure is the key to lifelong learning. Schools with a real culture of reading will be able to give their pupils the key to learning independently so that they can fulfil their potential.

References

 OECD (2002). OECD Reports Emphasise Reading Skills, Teacher Supply as Keys to Educational Success. Retrieved January 31, 2009, from http://www.oecd.org/document/20/0,3343,en_2649_34487_1840532_1_1_1_1,00.html

 N’Namdi, Kemba A. (2005). UNESCO: Guide to Teaching Reading at the Primary School Level. Retrieved January 31, 2009, from http://unesdoc.unesco.org/images/0014/001411/141171E.pdf

 Reading Connects – An Introduction. Retrieved January 30, 2009, from http://www.literacytrust.org.uk/readingconnects/Secondary_booklet.pdf