Books unlock a world of knowledge and entertainment for our little ones and we all want our children to love reading. A new international school opening its doors in Hong Kong this September, understands just how important literacy is. Stamford American School has developed a special tailored reading approach for all their students that will have them lining up at the library.
Why start reading from a young age?
Children develop literacy skills and an awareness of language long before they are able to read, research shows. Based on this, Stamford’s approach is that language development is fundamental to all areas of learning, and that the skills developed in early life can set the stage for later school success.
Mastering reading skills is obviously crucial for reaching milestones in language and communication. But did you know that it is also linked to higher education performance across maths, science and social concepts? Not only does reading build your child’s vocabulary, it boosts creativity, improves writing skills, enhances the memory and even develops analytical thinking.
A special program
Given the wide-ranging benefits of reading, the school has carefully considered their approach to reading in the classroom and are implementing the Fountas & Pinnell Leveled Reading Program at the school. This program has books of several levels within each grade level and pairs children with books that match their reading abilities. As the student’s ability improves, teachers extend them with more complex books to expand their vocabulary and understanding. The program has books of several levels within each grade.
How does it work?
Teachers use the program’s assessment system to measure a child’s independent and instructional reading levels. Teachers can use the results from the assessment to understand your child’s reading needs and create a teaching plan to suit. Regular one-on-one assessments measure your child’s progress. The assessment begins with your child reading aloud and then talking about books, giving the teacher the chance to make an assessment. The second part of the assessment sees the teacher then conduct a comprehension conversation. An optional part of the assessment has students demonstrating their written comprehension of what they have read.
Why an individualised approach?
When every child in a class is reading the same book, the advanced readers would not be challenged and beginner readers would be stretched beyond their abilities. The school recognises that children learn and read at a different pace. They provide different styles of learning which are flexible to meet different children’s needs. They say every child should read books at a pace that challenges them at the right level. This individualised approach is not limited to reading. Stamford delivers individualised learning plans across the curriculum from the age of five years.
An abundance of books
Every classroom at Stamford will have its own library with more than 1,000 fiction and non-fiction books each. The school has chosen to have a library in every classroom, as opposed to one large library for the campus. This means they can offer students relevant, age-appropriate resources at their fingertips. The books come from Fountas & Pinnell’s database of more than 18,000 titles, and are assessed for the difficulty of the text based on a number of factors, including sentence length, vocabulary used, complexity of letter-sound patterns, word lengths, genre and text structure before being assigned to a level.
Have a curios kiddo on your hands with an interest in robots and technology? Each library has science and engineering books, as a core part of the school’s curriculum is its STEMinn (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math & Innovation) program. They place a strong emphasis on the STEMinn program to start preparing kids as early as possible for challenging subjects such as physics, biology and chemistry in secondary school, and to create the best possible chance for success in our ever-increasing knowledge-based economy.
What should parents do?
Parents can support their little reader at home. Children read beyond their level when they are motivated by a topic. Parents can also help their child become a strong reader by reading with and aloud to them every day. Reading aloud helps children understand the structure of written language, allowing them to expand their knowledge of words as well as learning new ways of using the language.
Draw from current events happening in Hong Kong for inspiration, such as Chinese New Year. Stamford suggests Chinese New Year titles that your child will love include:
- Bringing in the New Year by Grace Lin
- The Tale of Rickshaw Rooster by Sarah Brennan
- Bella’s Chinese New Year by Stacey Zolt Hara
- Sam and the Lucky Number by Karen Chinn
- My First Chinese New Year by Karen Katz
Find out more
You can visit the school at their Open House events. Meet with Stamford’s Superintendent, Malcolm Kay, to find out more about the school’s curriculum. Book your place here.
Stamford American School’s campus is at 25 Man Fuk Road, Ho Man Tin, Kowloon, Hong Kong. Stamford’s Admissions Office is at Two Exchange Square, Level 40, Suites 4005-4007, 8 Connaught Place, Central, Hong Kong.
This editorial is sponsored content
Looking for some family-friendly fun? Check out these parks, playgrounds and outdoor centres for the kids