IQBar - The Joy of Reading

08/06/2020 09:45

Children's Book Week Every Week

This month at IQBar, we have been celebrating Children’s Book Week which was celebrated between 4th and 10th May. This annual event is designed to bring children together with books, writers and illustrators, and promote a love of reading!

Children’s book week has been celebrated for over a hundred years and promotes the idea that reading and literacy skills can fundamentally change lives. We totally agree! Not only is it vital for education and academic progress, but also to inspire, entertain and stimulate the minds of children and young people. For this reason, at IQBar, we celebrate Children's Book Week every week!

Our students can get involved through the brand new IQBar online library, with hundreds of titles ranging from colourful and engaging non-fiction books on science, technology, history and culture, to comics or classic works of literature. We know that all of our students will be able to find something they love, and just one book can spark a lifelong passion for reading!

The Importance of Reading in English

At IQBar, we believe in the immersive method of language learning. This means that our students are exposed to English as much as possible, as they gain the skills needed to use the language with confidence.

This means that reading in English is a crucially important part of the language learning journey.

One of the most valuable elements of reading in English is that it allows our children to vastly expand their vocabulary knowledge. Reading exposes children to new words, and finding them in context means that they ‘stick’ more easily in the brain. Not only this, but reading widely also means that children experience written language in different genres, tones, and levels of complexity. Many books for younger children also use rhythm, rhyme and repetition, so reading these books can be a fantastic way to develop an awareness of syllables, word stress, and sound patterns in English. In any case, whether it is newspapers, blogs, poetry, novels, or non-fiction, independent ensures that learners come into contact with English as frequently as possible, in an engaging, meaningful and productive way.

The vast range of texts available also means that our students can be totally self-sufficient, and build confidence with English, even outside the classroom. Children can read about whatever they choose – perhaps they are passionate about space, fascinated by dinosaurs, or enchanted by the magical world of Roald Dahl. Whatever they choose to read, reading allows children to learn on their own terms. This increased motivation and engagement means that they progress far more quickly than they would otherwise.

Whether learners are just starting out, or if they are a little further along, one thing is indisputable- the more that learners immerse themselves by reading in English, the more quickly they make progress towards English proficiency.

Not only do we offer a rich library of content, but we also provide video content for children to immerse themselves in English through fun science, craft, cooking and fitness videos as well as Story Time!

Watch Picaro Story Time here.

Picaro Featured Topic of the Month

As it was Children’s Book Week this month, we felt it was highly appropriate that this month’s featured topic was all about going to the library! The lesson that we’re looking at this month is a colourful and engaging set of learning activities all about book preferences, reading habits and storytelling!

Appropriately, for a lesson about going to the library, the lesson is heavily focused on reading skills. This lesson focuses on a short text about the reading habits of a family – Dan, Grace, Baby May, Mum and Dad. The lesson allows students to use two specific subskills of reading, both of which are absolutely crucial for developing independent confidence with reading in English.

Firstly, the lesson focusses on ‘reading for gist’, or ‘skimming’, as students match pictures to sentences. This does not require them to understand every single word, but instead, the overall idea of what is being expressed. This is an important first step, as it then allows learners to then practise the second subskill, which is ‘reading for specific detail’, or ‘scan’ reading. After students understand the general meaning of the text, they are then encouraged to focus on specific words, phrases or grammar points from the text, and are assessed via a multiple-choice exercise. Practising these skills is absolutely critical for language learning, as these strategies can be used by learners of all ages and all ability levels, so using these techniques establishes effective learning habits that will be useful throughout the language learning journey.

Not only does the lesson teach effective reading techniques, but also forms a natural context for teaching specific grammar points – namely the present simple tense and adverbs of frequency. As the lesson focuses on habitual behaviours and routines, it is an ideal way to explore sentences such as ‘Grace never reads books about sports’ or ‘Mum and Dad often read stories to the children’. The lesson employs an inductive approach to grammar teaching, where learners are guided towards grammatical rules, such as adding ‘s’ to third person verbs or changing the order of words for questions. Research has shown that this is a highly effective method for grammar learning, as it emphasises natural usage. By building proficiency with these grammar points, our students develop an understanding of different parts of sentences, and how they function. This then allows them to approach new vocabulary and grammar with increased confidence, and will ultimately allow them to make progress rapidly.

Culture Course Featured Topic of the Month

In celebration of Children’s Book Week, this month we added the new topic of famous authors to our culture course!

Scottish writer J.K Rowling is one of the world’s most famous children’s authors, best known for her enchanting stories of magic, adventure, and the struggle of good against evil. Of course, we’re talking about Harry Potter – the boy who lived!

Since the publication of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone in 1997, the adventures of Harry, Ron and Hermione have captured the imaginations of thousands of children around the world. However, as well as being fun, engaging stories, reading these books also has enormous educational value as well. Let’s explore how reading books like Harry Potter can benefit students.

One of the main benefits of reading books like Harry Potter is that they are enjoyable! We know that just one good book can be life-changing for a child, and here’s how it works.

Imagine this. A child reads the first Harry Potter book, and they love it. They read the second, then the third, then before they know it they’ve read all seven – meanwhile they’ve been learning new vocabulary, developing their inference and deduction skills, they’re predicting what will happen next, and testing their hypotheses. Then they discover even more book series – Northern Lights, The Lord of the Rings, The Hobbit, Lemony Snicket, the stories of Roald Dahl. Suddenly, that child has a passion for language and a motivation for learning. We know that it is this kind of learner who makes faster progress, does better in exams, and overall has improved academic and professional prospects. Because of a single book.

“Reading is a discount ticket to everywhere.”
Mary Schmich, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist

Not only this but at IQBar, we also believe that a global perspective through education can only be a good thing. Reading books by writers from around the world allows children to learn about different people, places and cultures, without even leaving home! Part of what makes the Harry Potter books so wonderfully engaging is that they paint a vivid and accurate picture of the UK. OK, so there may not be dragons or flying cars, but there certainly are beautiful castles, dramatic coastlines and bustling markets reminiscent of Diagon Alley! That’s why reading is so important. It can transport the imagination, and help our students see the world from a new point of view– an important part of personal growth and development.

We love reading at IQBar!

IQBar's Immersive Online Summer Camp - Launching July 2020!

Keep an eye out for next month's issue to find out more!