Archive for the ‘Reading’ Category

New and improved Nilam

Sunday, April 16th, 2017
Dr Amin (second row, third from right) and National Library director-general Datuk Nafisah Ahmad (second row, second from right) taking part in 5 Minutes Of Reading with school pupils during the launch of the national level 1Malaysia Reading Camp.

Dr Amin (second row, third from right) and National Library director-general Datuk Nafisah Ahmad (second row, second from right) taking part in 5 Minutes Of Reading with school pupils during the launch of the national level 1Malaysia Reading Camp.

MAGAZINES and journals will be considered scientific literature that can be included under the soon-to-be-launched version two of the Nadi Ilmu Amalan Membaca (Nilam 2.0) reading programme.

Deputy education director-general Datuk Dr Amin Senin said this new version of Nilam that begins in 2018 includes digital content such as e-books and online journals.

“A lot of reading materials are now converted to digital form and these can be considered reading materials for students (in Nilam 2.0),” he said after launching the national level 1Malaysia Reading Camp (KK1M) 2017 in Kuala Lumpur last Tuesday.

Launched by the Education Ministry in 1999, Nilam aims to inculcate the habit of reading among both primary and secondary school students.

Students are required to jot down details of the books they read – the author, number of pages, publisher and synopsis or a mind map – into a record book. The programme tracks the score continuously until the student leaves school.

“The previous Nilam is actually successful in achieving its objectives,” said Dr Amin, who added that the new programme incorporates digital content in order to keep up with the times.

“Improving the current Nilam programme is needed to keep up with current trends and still instil the reading habit in students,” he said.

Education Ministry Education Technology Division director Zaidi Yazid said Nilam 2.0 will not just emphasise quantity, but also the quality of the reading materials.

In reading out Education director-general Tan Sri Dr Khair Mohamad Yusof’s speech, Dr Amin said that almost 97% of students in Malaysia were part of the programme in 2016, with an average reading rate of 28 books per student per year.

“However, programmes to encourage reading should be intensified and continued to form a progressive and dynamic Malaysian society,” he said.

Dr Amin said one such programme is the KK1M, which is a three-day programme carried out nationwide to cultivate a “bookworm society” and foster a thirst for knowledge.


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Book corners bring out the reader in pupils.

Saturday, March 18th, 2017
Parent-Teacher Association (PTA) treasurer Wendy Cheah and the organiser of the reading corners at SRJK (C) Puay Chai 2, Bandar Utama

Parent-Teacher Association (PTA) treasurer Wendy Cheah and the organiser of the reading corners at SRJK (C) Puay Chai 2, Bandar Utama

WITH children increasingly losing interest in reading, the parents of SJKC Puay Chai 2 pupils in Bandar Utama decided to put together three reading corners within the school compound.

The reading corners meant to cultivate the habit were set up about three months ago and are placed strategically in the foyer, outside the library and the activity hall.

Parent-Teacher Association (PTA) treasurer Wendy Cheah said children nowadays were more likely to indulge in digital games even when they eat.

Year 1 and 2 pupils being entertained at the launch of the reading corners.

Year 1 and 2 pupils being entertained at the launch of the reading corners

“We have placed the books in such a way that the covers face out to attract the children to pick them up,” said Cheah.

“In November last year, we conducted a pilot study by putting old copies of the Young Scientist magazine on the shelves.

“Surprisingly, about 30 to 40 of them huddled around the shelves to read,” said Cheah, who is the brains behind this initiative.

“Following the successful, we were willing to spend about RM8,000 on shelves and renovations to set up the reading corners,” she added.

Since then, many parents have sponsored the books, for which school principal Pang Lai Cheun is grateful.

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Kids benefit from reading corners

Monday, July 18th, 2016
Let’s read: JCI Butterworth City members and OCBC Bank staff standing in front of the newly constructed reading corner.

Let’s read: JCI Butterworth City members and OCBC Bank staff standing in front of the newly constructed reading corner.

OVER 20 schools in Butterworth will now have access to a selected range of literature at a special “reading corner”.

This is thanks to a literacy project spearheaded by the Junior Chamber International (JCI) Butterworth Chapter and OCBC Bank (Malaysia) Berhad’s Bukit Mertajam branch.

The project which is part of a programme that was first established by JCI Butterworth City in 2014, is being rolled out in Butterworth in four phases featuring three schools and an orphanage. A total of 14 reading corners have already been set up nationwide so far.

Junior Chamber International Butterworth Chapter organising chairman Kenny Hing said the schools were selected on the basis of its environment and needs.

At a recent ceremony, 600 books were donated to SJKC Jit Sin A and SJKC Jit Sin B to be placed at their reading corners, with another 900 books to be made available to the remaining three schools in the next few months.

On the reading corners, Hing: “It is a peaceful reading atmosphere where the pupils can use their free time meaningfully. They can choose the books to read or re-read. It is also a fun environment to gain knowledge.”

He added that the initiative in Butterworth would not have been possible without the partnership with OCBC Bank.

“We are grateful for the partnership with OCBC Bank.

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Cultivate reading habit, schools urged

Friday, March 11th, 2016
Reading Practice Knowledge Pulse award recipients with Ahmad, Masly and other officers.

Reading Practice Knowledge Pulse award recipients with Ahmad, Masly and other officers.

KENINGAU: Sabah Education Director Datuk Jame Alip has urged all schools in the State to cultivate reading culture among students in an effort to raise their knowledge level in line with knowledge suitable for people’s needs in the new millennium.

He said the practice of reading should not limited to reading materials in school textbooks, and even more broadly, through reading materials in the print and electronic sources.

According to him, by reading a lot of reading material especially scientific and general knowledge was very important in developing ideas and thinking, especially in making compositions as well as in public communication such as speech, debate, storytelling and others.

“Thinking would be wide open, with good ideas and factual findings of diligent practice in reading on materials that are useful,” he said when opening the state level Reading Practice Knowledge Pulse (NILAM) Carnival at SJKC Yuk Kong hall here yesterday.

He said that this could help students to excel academically, especially on the work of writing, thus encouraging reading that must be cultivated through a variety of activities in school.

Jame’s text of speech was delivered by the State Education Department’s senior assistant director of Education Technology Division, Ahamad Jais.

At the same time, Jame said based on the report of the National Library in 2010, average Malaysians read eight books a year and this shows a positive increase compared to an average of two books read in 1996.

He added that although this rate was much lower than the reading rate in developed countries such as Japan and the United States, this rate indicated that more and more Malaysians were beginning to realize the importance of reading.

In the meantime, he said the re-study of the 2011 Malaysian Reading profile by the National Library formulated that the group aged 10 to 40 read eight books a year, and over 40 years old, read just six books a year.

Accordingly, Jame said the NILAM awards organised by the Educational Technology Division (BTP) was consistent with the goal of giving encouragement to all schools, teachers and students in addition to giving recognition to schools and teachers as well as students who were eager to read.

In a related development, he said schools should use the facility such as a library center as knowledge source.

“Educators in schools need to make a habit of reading as a daily practice that can be emulated by their students, which includes implementing NILAM program with excellence.
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Getting Students to Do the Reading

Saturday, June 27th, 2015

reading textbook

Getting students to do their assigned reading is a struggle. Most teachers don’t need anyone to tell them what the research pretty consistently reports. On any given day, only 20 to 30 percent of the students arrive at class having done the reading. Faculty are using a variety of approaches to up that percentage: quizzes (announced, unannounced, online), assignments that require some sort of written response to the reading, reading journals, a variety of optional reading support materials, and calling on students to answer questions about the reading. Which of these approaches work best?

As Hattenberg and Steffy (reference below) note, there is surprisingly little research that addresses that question. And there are some issues with the existing research. For example, according to Hattenberg and Steffy, most studies compare a reading compliance strategy with doing nothing. “It is hardly surprising to find that a particular technique is more effective than doing nothing at all.” (p. 348) Furthermore, a lot of studies of these approaches involve small sample sizes—maybe just one class.

These researchers aspired to see whether they could find out what approaches worked best and do so in a way that remedied the research deficiencies. They surveyed students in eight sections of an introductory sociology course—a course with the enrolled students majoring in a variety of fields. The 423 students in their sample were asked whether they had experienced one of seven reading compliance techniques:

by .

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The hidden power of reading aloud

Saturday, June 27th, 2015

Good rapport: Turner (in blue) leading the storytelling session while the children and their parents listen attentively.

Good rapport: Turner (in blue) leading the storytelling session while the children and their parents listen attentively.

A LOVE for reading makes children mellower.

Secondary school teacher Yeap Chee Beng, 39, believes that reading helps children to “mellow” and be less hyperactive.

“Before I introduced my eldest son to books, he was mischievous but now he knows how to behave,” she said at the storytelling brunch of the Penang International Kids Storytelling Festival 2015 in Muntri Street, Penang.

Seventy participants — parents and children – took part in the event held in a cafe recently, for some good food and good reading.

The programme was conducted by senior teacher Julie Turner from the British Council, who has 10 years’ experience in Spain and Kuala Lumpur.

Turner’s storytelling method involvescreative pedagogy and engaging children interactively.

“Reading is important for children to cultivate their imagination,” she said.

Penang Education Council preschool education committee chairman Prof Dr Anna Christina Abdullah said the organisers planned to sponsor 400 to 500 underprivileged children in Penang to attend the festival’s activities.


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Save the Last Word for Me: Encouraging Students to Engage with Complex Reading and Each Other.

Saturday, April 18th, 2015

Online discussions are often implemented in college classes to allow students to express their understanding and perceptions about the assigned readings. This can be challenging when the reading is particularly complex, as students are typically reluctant to share their interpretations because they are not confident in their understanding. This can inhibit meaningful interactions with peers within an online discussion.

Through a review of research, we found that more structured discussions tend to exhibit higher levels of shared cognition (deNoyelles, Zydney, & Chen, 2014). One highly structured and interactive strategy to support students as they discuss complex readings in an online discussion is to use a protocol. Although many different kinds of online protocols exist (see McDonald, Zydney, Dichter, & McDonald, 2012), they all establish a well-defined goal, set clear roles and rules for interactions, and clarify deadlines. They also can foster an environment where people feel freer to value diverse ideas and learn from one another. A protocol called Save the Last Word for Me is specifically designed to have students openly interpret complex text (McDonald et al., 2012).

We implemented the Save the Last Word for Me protocol in an online graduate course on educational technology (Zydney, deNoyelles, & Seo, 2012). Students read articles about a complex theoretical framework for designing technology-based learning environments and then engaged in an online discussion. In the beginning of the week, half of the class (about six or seven students) was asked to create a discussion thread which included a brief passage from the readings that they thought was both important and complex. They were told not to reveal why they chose the passage, in order to encourage other students to openly interpret it.

by Aimee deNoyelles, EdD; Janet Mannheimer Zydney, PhD; and Kay Kyeong-Ju Seo, PhD.

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Using Student-Generated Reading Questions to Uncover Knowledge Gaps.

Sunday, April 5th, 2015

Editor’s note: The following is an excerpt from Student-Generated Reading Questions: Diagnosing Student Thinking with Diverse Formative Assessments, Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Education, 42 (1), 29-38. The Teaching Professor Blog recently named it to its list of top pedagogical articles.

As instructors, we make a myriad of assumptions about the knowledge students bring to our courses. These assumptions influence how we plan for courses, what information we decide to cover, and how we engage our students. Often there is a mismatch between our expectations about what students know and how students actually think about a topic that is not uncovered until too late, after we examine student performance on quizzes and exams. Narrowing this gap requires the use of well-crafted formative assessments that facilitate diagnosing student learning throughout the teaching process.

Within large-lecture courses in particular, instructors have traditionally relied on the use of verbal questions to gauge student learning. Verbal questioning is limited, as it reveals the thinking of only those students most willing to respond. Often these are the high-performing students in a class. In contrast, student-generated reading questions (SGRQs) provide the opportunity and incentive for all students to submit questions, providing the evidence necessary to make inferences about the range and extent of all students’ conceptions. As evidenced through content analysis, SGRQs have the potential for characterizing the “conceptual ecology” of the class as a whole. While formative assessment is not a new idea, most research on its effective use in undergraduate science courses has focused on implementation in introductory courses and been limited to pedagogies that make use of clicker questions. This exploratory study provides preliminary data to spark a conversation about the diverse ways in which we can effectively assess student understanding in ways that support conceptual development.

by : Erika G. Offerdahl, PhD and Lisa Montplaisir, PhD .


Making reading a priority

Monday, September 8th, 2014

Proud moment: Educationist Marcus showing the Hyacinth Gaudart Award.

EDUCATIONIST Marcus Raja believes in the power of reading to help students improve their learning of English.

The long-serving teacher and principal is of the view that reading should be a priority and has instilled that practice in every school he was posted to.

“I’m an advocate of reading. In my last school for example, every Tuesday in the first period of the day the whole school was reading for 40 minutes.

“I truly believe that reading helps and that students have to read. Through reading they’ll be able to go further and soar higher. When they are able to read they can actually do more,” he said.

Marcus, 58, added that one of his most cherished projects was helping children who could not read to learn to do so.

“We had a special project teaching children who came to us in Form One and could not even read. All my teachers took turns to teach them every day using the Ladybird books and many of them were able to pick up the reading habit.

“We found that the children improved their reading in English faster than Bahasa Malaysia because of the Ladybird books.

“Now I’m no longer in the school but the project is still going on.

“It’s one of those things that I’m very proud that I did, helping disadvantaged children and teaching them so that they can start to read. To me, that is one of the best gifts that teachers can give to children.”

Marcus, who hails from Bario in Sarawak, received the Hyacinth Gaudart English Language Teacher Award for serving the profession in an outstanding manner at the 23rd Malaysian English Language Teaching Association (Melta) International Conference in Kuching last week.

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A Practical Guide to Selecting “Just Right” Books for Independent Reading

Tuesday, August 26th, 2014

Students choose books for independent reading for many different reasons: “I just saw the movie,” “I like the pictures,” “My friend just finished it.” Students usually choose books that appeal to them visually. The front covers are designed to capture their interest and emotions. However, many students do not choose a book that they can actually read independently and with success (Parks, 2004).

A carefully designed program that includes teaching how to choose a book, monitoring the process, and evaluating can impact reading achievement (Routman, 2003). The teacher can provide feedback by matching the book to the reader. This can be done by having the student read aloud while the teacher listens and records the miscues. At this time the teacher may also pay attention to the phrasing and fluency of the reading. After calculating the percent of miscues for accuracy, the teacher calculates an error rate. An error rate of 1 in 20 words suggests an easy text, an error rate of 1 in 10 suggests an instructional level text and an error rate of greater than 1 in 10 suggests a hard text (Fountas & Pinnell, 1999).

If the book is too difficult, it will lead to frustration; too little of a challenge will lead to boredom (Routman, 2003). So the book needs to be “just right.” A just right book is one that provides a little bit of a challenge for the student. It should be a book that the student finds interesting and can be read with a small amount of assistance with the text. Spending time reading just right books during independent reading time will help students become stronger.

It would be acceptable, occasionally, for a student to choose a slightly difficult book if he or she is interested in a specific subject and finds a difficult book that centers on this subject. However, providing a steady diet of books that are too difficult for the student will cause more harm. The student needs to understand and enjoy the book for reading success. Many students who choose hard books give up on the book out of frustration. Research shows that learning best occurs with many lessons presenting no more than 10% new material and providing many opportunities for practice (Fountas & Pinnell, 1996).

Reading lots of easy books will build confidence and fluency. Pattern books, predictable stories, and familiar books will provide the student with the opportunity to work on building a level of comfort and self-reliance. Reading fluency and comprehension are linked (Armbruster, Lehr, & Osborn, 2001). Students who spend a great deal of energy on decoding lose all meaning of the story. A student who has difficulty with fluency may have been reading at a frustration level for quite some time. Finding the right level of books for this student is essential. Matching the book to the reader will provide an opportunity for the student to read with comprehension and relative ease. Reading is about gaining meaning, so students should be reading manageable texts and understanding what they read.

Easy books allow students to focus on the meaning and think deeper about characters and plot. However, too much easy reading will not promote growth in reading. This is when teacher input is vital. Observing the students closely and monitoring their progress will give the teacher the information to move the student gently to more difficult books. As the student moves to just right books, he or she will continue to develop reading skills. The text should be challenging enough to allow the student to work out problems or learn a new strategy.

Tools for students to use when choosing books.

Children need to learn how to choose a book. Giving them the opportunity to choose from a small group of books is a beginning. Modeling how to look through a book–looking at the cover, flipping through the pages, and scanning the illustrations–will provide students with an excellent example. Many teachers explain the five-finger rule to their students. This rule reminds students to count on their fingers every time they miss a word in a particular book. If they miss five words, the book may be too hard. If they miss three words or fewer, it might be “just right” (, n.d.).

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