Reading habits of Australian students
In elementary school, from preparatory to sixth grade, every day Australian students have 30 minutes to read books at school and about 20 minutes to read books at home with parents.
Scientists think that reading to babies stimulates imagination and brain development, teaches children language and emotions, as well as increases connections between parents and children. Therefore it is never too early to read to children. According to a 2017 study, about 80% of babies from birth to 2 years old in Australia are read to their parents regularly.
Australian students start school at age 5 (preparatory class). From now until grade 2 (7 years old), students are officially taught to read. Every day they will learn simple words and be read by a teacher for a story. Students will then read the books of their choice, sometimes reading with the teacher to make corrections. Sometimes teachers ask to summarize books as well as answer questions to test their reading comprehension ability.
1st graders choose a reading book. Photo: Thoai Giang.
In class, reading books are arranged in boxes of different colors from easiest yellow to hard black. When a student first goes to school, many students know all the letters or write their names. But also a lot of children do not know if a double fork, it does not matter. The teacher will evaluate each student's level and assign each student a color.
If students find it difficult or easy, let the teacher know to reduce it. Teachers monitor and ensure that students learn to read according to their ability, neither too easy for them to be bored nor too hard to discourage. Thanks to learning to read at the right level, children are happy to read every day and soon improve.
In elementary school, from preparatory class to grade 6, the daily schedule has 30 minutes of reading time. In addition, every evening children are encouraged to practice reading with their parents for about 20 minutes. Children who have just started to learn to read will understand faster when listening to an adult to read rather than reading, because parents can explain to children the meaning of a new word. When a child can read at age 8 (3rd grade), does not mean that parents stop reading to children. Sharing books helps children expand vocabulary, increase reading comprehension skills, and create closeness between parents and children.
To encourage elementary students to read at home, Asutralia School gives each of them a diary. After reading a book, parents will write a comment and sign it. When you cross the 25 books, you will be awarded a star, 50 books and so they voluntarily read each night to finish early.
Older students who can read alone are often required to spend at least half an hour each night reading on their own. Many Australian families have a habit of reading together before they go to sleep.
The school will update the list of popular books for each age group for parents and students to read. 3rd grade students often love the literary writer Roald Dahl, one of the world famous children's authors. However, I am just fascinated with humorous stories like Diary of a Wimpy Kid.
Teachers advise parents not to force children to read uninteresting books. Each type of book has its own value, so you are free to choose what you like to arouse your passion for reading. Don't be in a hurry because students' reading habits will change over time.
As children grow a bit older, their interests expand to nature, science, society and ethical issues. 4th graders mostly love children's books that solve children's problems, like Morris Gleitzman's Boy Overboard story, or Sandy Fussell's mystery manga Samurai Kids. 5th graders are starting to fall in love with 500-page books like Rick Riordan's Heroes of Olympus fantasy series. The 6th graders love the science fiction book series of Harry Potter by J. K. Rowling, despite having nearly 800 pages.
Reading an Australian family's bedtime book. Photo: Thoai Giang.
In the English program of high school students (grades 7 to 12), they must read 3 compulsory books and write analytical essays each year. In addition, they also read about 2 more books so the average Australian high school student reads about 5 books per year.
To encourage reading, in April each year, states organize the Premier's Reading Challenge for students in pre-10th through 10th grade. Each participant receives a certificate of the book number. read when the show ended in September.
During the challenging period from April to September, students in preparatory classes, grades 1 and 2 are encouraged to read 30 books. Their reading books are very simple, with lots of attractive illustrations and colors. In fact, on average, they read about 5 books a week, if they include re-read books, they read more than 200 books a year.
Books for students in grades 3 to 6 are thicker and harder so they are encouraged to read 15 books in this five-month reading program. This is reasonable because normally a 5th grader will finish reading a 300 page book in 10 days, each year he can read about 30 books.
The Premier's Reading Challenge Program offers a selection of books with rich content and genres suitable for each age group. This catalog is added each year and currently has nearly 20,000 books by thousands of old and present authors. Students can borrow these books at the school library or local library. Conditional families often buy in bookstores or online.
"If you want to be smart, give them a book. If you want them to be smarter, give them more," says Jackie French, an Australian children's book author.
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