'It's inspirational': How a bilingual school's reading club improved NAPLAN results

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A Sydney primary school has changed its way of teaching - students and parents - and it's having a dramatic impact on NAPLAN results.

Campsie Public School, in south-west Sydney, has started a reading club before school to enhance literacy skills in both students and parents.

More than 80 students from 49 different language groups attend the daily sessions.

For almost all the children, English is their second language.

Eleven-year-old Vivian Xu says it is the most exciting part of the day.

“I like reading mystery books and mythical creatures,” she said.

Min Hye Kim, 11, it’s about learning new words and helping the younger kids.

“New vocabulary and I've actually been advancing vocabulary a lot,” she said.

Parent Justine Flynn says her 6-year-old son Shi Hyeong, originally from Korea, has identified learning difficulties but in the past 12 months has gone from strength to strength.

“He's much more focused. It's inspirational," she said. "It's just watching that your older peers, the kids that you want to be like actually love and enjoy reading.”

The reading club originally started because many parents couldn't read to their children at home due to time and literacy skills. It's now become a part of their daily routine.

Learning and support teacher Helena Suess is the brains behind the program.

She says after 40 years of teaching she's still passionate about changing people's lives.

“I had one case where a mother thanked me because I had taught her to read, and that was truly rewarding because then I know she can help that child or any other children she has with their reading,” Ms Suess said.

 

Each session is recorded and then uploaded to the internet so families can continue practising at home.

The school's NAPLAN reading results are proof all that practise pays off.

Nine-year-old Firyal Tabbara is now excelling at school, even though Arabic is still spoken at home.

“When I first got really good at reading now I can read perfectly and I just done really good in the NAPLAN so it was easy for me now,” she said.

The bilingual school teaches across all learning areas in Korean five hours a week and also offers students the opportunity to learn eight other languages during and after school.

Additional language teacher Anne Colley says reading club in English is just an added bonus.

“Children that read a variety of texts form opinions about the world and once they have an opinion about the world then they can write it,” she said.

INSIGHT: A Teacher Changed My Life

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Source SBS World News

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