Wednesday, 19 June 2013

Kids and Reading

Stickers to reward reading for kids
Reading is cool, this bear says so

I buy a lot of stickers from places like FBC to give to my students. In one variety pack I got a set of “reading celebration” stickers. I absolutely will never use them. They just don’t make any sense here. Kids here love to read. Japan has always had an exceptionally high literacy rate, much higher than any European country in the nineteenth century and still very high today. The fact that kids enjoy poetry-based games should indicate the central role of literature in culture. Of course, manga play a big part in promoting literacy. Once looked down on as a distraction from “real reading”, school libraries in Australia are increasingly looking to manga and comics to help facilitate an interest in reading and literacy skills. In a Japanese classroom, the difficulty can be getting the kids to put their books away and stop reading long enough to pay attention to the class. I don’t even know how I would explain that in Australia and America we need incentive cards and stickers to get some kids to open a book.
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  1. Just today, I asked my elementary school kids, "What do you like?" Half of the students enthusiastically responded, "Reading!" I seriously doubt I would get the same response in the states.

  2. Wow. I am sorry, but I disagree with this so hard. Manga, yes. People read a ton of manga. But actual books, literature? No. Most of my Japanese friends are not well-read at all.
    Julie (openprivate)


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