Some methods of stimulating reading at primary school

Marine Martirosyan

Why is reading considered to be good?

Why should we encourage the learners to read?

How can reading be made interesting for the learners at primary school?

From my own experience of teaching at primary school I should say that any educational activity which lacks the feeling of game playing, becomes uninteresting for the learner, and it seems to them an aimless waste of time. Man always plays during all his lifetime; although he thinks that he plays no more in his adulthood and his activities are sensible and well-balanced, but in the end game playing never stops; it is only transformed. Can't you se any connection between game playing and reading? There is a connection and that is a direct connection. Let's think over two issues: Which books do we remember years later? We remember the books in which we found our ego or our dreams, the books in which we overcame our fears. If a book with its content corresponds neither to our present nor to our future dreams, ambitions or fears, it doesn't impress us and, therefore, isn't kept in our long term memory. When we read the right book we feel as if we were the characters in the book. We experience their feelings, worries and happy moments. We may read in a sitting or lying position, it may seem to us that we are physically relaxed but at the same time our minds are hovering in the sky cutting us off reality.            

Game playing is a free state of mind. When in class we suggest playing, what does the learner do? Doesn't he jump for joy as if he has just been set free from a burden? If we deal with with children we should begin with his freedom which is found in game playing. 

Librarian’s job made me treat the choice of books and offering them to the learners more seriously. I began to study my junior readers’ wishes. I talked to them about their dreams; we drew together, fancied and made up our own stories. Then I told them that there were people  who lived in other countries and in other times and created their own stories like we did, and the learners were inspired in this way to read those stories. Like any other activity reading should favour the junior school child’s psychological development.     

After having read this or that book we tried to distinguish the main characters in them. The children justified that they loved this or that character because he/she was like their aunt/uncle or the careful grandmother in their yard. The child reads and tries to bring the characters of the book closer to his/her world. He likes to enter another world and find familiar and unfamiliar characters there. Searching is one of the learner’s most important abilities that helps him to develop his mental abilities, imagine and discover.

We compiled the project of summarizing Tumanyan’s Days with our fourth graders and their teacher Tatev Melkonyan. I worked out a package of games with which we consolidated the already assimilated knowledge and also organized a shadow theatre. The whole class was involved in creative work.

We summarized Aghayan’s Days in the same way. Seda Khachatryan, one of our primary school teachers, helped me to compile the project of summarizing Aghayan’s Days. I also I worked out a package of games and the learners performed “The Little Khan” with what they had at hand. The reading hall was full of lively, and self confident junior readers who were answering the quiz questions equally well.

I often saw learners who were inspired by “Rangers”, and it dawned on me to create new characters for children which might attract their attention and become alternative to their “ranger heroes”.  These thoughts resulted in working out the project “Calling for Fairy Tales” . Thanks to this project the reader has acquired two new heroes “Զանգակն ու Բամբակը – The Bell and Cotton” who tell the recorded beginnings of fairy tales and the learners are to make up their continuations in the “Comments”   section.

I can’t say that the “Rangers” have given in, but let’s hope that some day I will achieve that goal. Today the learners come to the reading hall willingly and with pleasure: they read and want their own stories to be told by “The Bell and Cotton”.     

The reading hall is no longer merely a room with four walls full of book-shelves loaded with books. The readers’ homes have become a reading hall; the readers’ blogs have become a reading hall. Wherever we read and create is a reading hall for us.  




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