Exploring New Literacy Strategies - from Room to Read!

Supporters like you, and Rotarians from around the world, are working through Sustainable Cambodia and Sustainable Cambodia Australia to help thousands of village children get a quality education through our community preschools, primary schools, enrichment schools, and university scholarships.

Do you remember how you felt when you first learned to read? And do you remember the first book you loved?

In a recent study tour with the renowned Room to Read program, our teachers explored new strategies to maximize our libraries and to engage our students in reading activities. The tour also helped to build friendships and networks between Room to Read and SC.

Room to Read staff demonstrates ways to coach young readers

Teachers are inspired to explore new strategies after visiting Room to Read Program

Room to Read provincial coordinator demonstrates storytelling skills in a "Read Aloud" activity with our visiting teachers. This activity helps young listeners to make connections between illustrations and language. They also develop higher cognitive skills by predicting what will happen on the next page!! 

Activities of the students at Room to Read Literacy Program transform schools into child-friendly learning centers. Students develop habits of reading to help them throughout their primary school years and to become life-long, independent readers. 

Key Observations from our Teachers and Students 

The study tour was a great experience for our teachers, librarians and school principals who are inspired to apply what they have learned in their own classrooms. 

Our school principal Sopheap

"After the trip, we've shared what we have learned with all of our teachers about the new methodologies, especially we focused on the students in grade 2 and 3 or for the beginner level. We are making a plan to help them to read and write in English. Our teachers make the classroom to be the place that the students want to learn with the happy environment. 

One important thing about the library at Room to Read is that they have made and published their own books with interesting stories, pictures and easy words that are related to the life of the students. We have a plan to get some books from them for our library, too. 

Now we are also preparing the library so that the kids want to read and do the research there, and we have noticed that our students start to like reading and most of them borrowed books from the library to read at home."

5th grader Roeun Kimleng reading books with others in the SC library

Kimleng said in Khmer, "Before I did not like the library, but now I love it so much because there are a lot happy activities we can play and learn with our friends here after class. Now my Khmer and English teachers always tell us about interesting stories that make us want to read more in the library."

 Mr Chhut Borin, English teacher

"We really appreciated that the students in the 2nd grade at Room to Read can read Khmer fluently and confidently. We have learned a lot from them. We've learned about library including book arrangement, book labeling and book loan management that allows the students to borrow the books to read at home. Most importantly, we have learned how to link the classroom to the library, how to make children love reading, and how to help young children learn how to read and write basic words.

Now we are practicing what we have learned from Room to Read with our students, and we have noticed that more and more students love going to read the books in our library."

Miss Soy Sokhom, one of our librarians

"After the visit, I learned more about the roles and responsibility of the librarian. I know that the librarian is not only the person who takes care of books, and looks after the library, but I also have to prepare lessons to teach the students sometimes. I've learned how to prepare documents to count the students entering the library and the list to control the students who borrow books. I have more concepts of how to prepare books to be attractive in the library."

Then Sotheanun, a 6th grader reading in SC library

He said in Khmer: "I often run to the library after class because I don't want to miss my favorite story books. If I am late, other students will use them. Now I can borrow the books to read at home, too. I want to read all the books in the library if I can."

Our English Teacher Pheakdey with students who are studying traditional Cambodian dancing

"After visiting Room to Read, I gained a lot more experience in terms of teaching small kids to read and to write correctly in Khmer language. I am really new for teaching kids so it is the meaning experience for me. What I have learned from Room to Read are teaching letters and letter sounds one by one clearly, and practice more and more before going to another letter and letter sound. 

Moreover, Room to Read can teach teachers to teach students to learn through linking classroom with library. Students study in their classes from their teachers and practice their recent lessons in the library by reading story as their grade or level. By doing this, students can learn faster and easier when they are familiar with teaching and learning system.

Finally, I have a strong belief that I can make a great change for SC students by starting from my classes. Even though Room to Read gives the training in Khmer language, I still have an optimistic belief that I can teach my students the same way as Room to Read does by teaching phonics and phonograms. I can guarantee that my students will be able to read at least easy words by five to six months later."


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