Stories of Change

Vi (left) and a friend during "pair reading" at their school.

Exploring the world of books in Vietnam

Lo Thi Minh Vi is a young student at the satellite primary school in Phuc Than commune in northern Vietnam. Like many of her classmates, Vi is from the Thai ethnic group. Her teacher, Ngo Thi Voa, is participating in a CWS program to encourage reading and improve school libraries. 

“I started using this special teaching practice after joining a CWS-organized workshop. It’s completely different from our traditional teaching,” Ms. Hoa says. In Vietnam, like in many countries, students usually follow a rote lesson plan that their teacher prepares. Ms. Hoa, though, embraces change and decided to give her class reading periods after that CWS workshop. “So far, our school has each class go weekly for a library period, after which students are invited to talk about the characters in the stories with the whole class. Students enjoy it very much, so every time I tell them they can go to the library, off they go!” she says. 

“Before, my classmates and I found library books and read them only during short school breaks, not during school days,” Vi says. More often than not, they didn’t get to the end of their books. They left bookmarks so that they would know where to continue next time, but it wasn’t a satisfying way to enjoy a good book. Now, thanks to their teachers’ partnership with CWS, they have a whole class period to read, and learn how to read better. “This is the seventh time our class has had a reading period in here,” Vi told our team recently. 

We asked Vi whether she liked having a reading time. She said yes and, “it’s because we can choose the books we want to read, and we can decide where we want to sit and who to read with. Then, after reading, we are invited to share what we read with our schoolmates. Once a friend talked about a book she had read, and I liked it so much I checked out the book and read it for myself!”