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Innovative Teaching and Learning Approaches in Elementary Schools

Fostering a Reading Culture in Primary Education: The Southern Office of the Vietnam Publishers Association’s Role

The book catalog compiled by the Southern Office of the Vietnam Publishers Association is contributing to the development of a reading culture and innovating knowledge acquisition in current primary schools.

Current Reading Habits

A 2019 study by the market research group Picodi on Vietnamese book purchasing and reading habits revealed that borrowing books is not a common practice in Vietnam, with only 8% borrowing from libraries and 17% from friends. 21% of survey participants stated they neither like nor care for reading. In a survey of 41 countries regarding purchasing at least one book a year, Vietnam ranked 35th as of March 2019.

The British Council’s research on Vietnam’s youth in August 2020 showed that young people predominantly trust social media (73%), the internet/websites (69%), and television (59%) for current event information. Information from friends (50%), newspapers (43%), and family (39%) were also common sources.

In the study group, the internet was preferred over traditional sources like newspapers for information. Young people also use online platforms for learning and skill development, such as listening to audiobooks, reading ebooks, and finding lessons online, often prioritizing these over traditional book reading.

A survey by the Children’s Department, Ministry of Labor, Invalids, and Social Affairs, in Q3 of 2022, revealed that children’s internet use is increasing. 89% of children accessed the internet in these three months, with 87% using it daily, averaging 5-7 hours per day on social media. 36% of these children were taught about online safety.

The “”Trust – Reading Habits Among Youth in Ho Chi Minh City”” survey by Ho Chi Minh City Book Street Company, conducted from April to June 2019 with 1,600 respondents (including students from elementary to university and parents/teachers), showed that 35% of elementary students dislike reading, 42% like it, and 23% occasionally enjoy it (similar to the 16% – 36% – 48% ratios for middle school students).

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“”Recommended Book List for Primary Education”” Project

In 2019, concerned about how to develop a reading culture and make students enjoy reading, the Vietnam Publishers Association – Southern Office met with teachers and library workers. They surveyed and met with leaders of primary, secondary, and high schools in Ho Chi Minh City and Binh Duong, laying the groundwork for many discussions about reading culture.

The survey revealed that libraries, equipped with books from various publishers, often found it challenging to compile books according to subjects or themes for classroom use.

Responding to expert opinions to help librarians with annual information resource supplementation and assist teachers in selecting suitable books, the Vietnam Publishers Association, based on the 2018 General Education Program by the Ministry of Education & Training, initiated a project compiling about 6,000 children’s titles from over 30 publishers nationwide.

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With the assistance of educational experts and over 50 primary school teachers, 965 titles were selected and categorized into a Recommended Book List for Primary Education (the List), addressing the practical needs of school libraries to equip publications by theme, subject, and class. This initiative supports teachers’ instruction and students’ extended reading, completing foundational knowledge and skills as per the 2018 General Education Program.

The List is organized by themes for each subject from grades 1 to 5, including Ethics, Experiential Activities, Natural and Social Sciences, Science, History – Geography, Vietnamese, Mathematics, and Local History of Ho Chi Minh City. Each title in the List has been comprehensively reviewed by teachers and educational experts, recognized as valuable in exploring science, history, geography, mathematics, literature, and stories about ethics, character, lifestyle, communication skills, etc. The content, combined with rich illustrations and open-ended knowledge, is age-appropriate for students.

This List facilitates librarians in understanding the teaching and learning programs, providing a thematic reference for each subject and class, and assisting in annual library updates to support student learning and teacher instruction. The List helps teachers enhance their lessons, using materials for library periods or reading sessions. It also aids parents in choosing books for their home libraries, enabling daily reading sessions with their children, guiding them to seek relevant information for their lessons.

Selecting 965 titles from over 6,000 books from 30 publishing units involved meticulous curation and reviews by teachers and experts, primarily benefiting students, then teachers, librarians, and families. The List project has also established the website, serving teachers, librarians, and parents in accompanying students’ education, contributing to developing reading habits at school and home.
“”Recommended Book List for Primary Education”” Project: Enhancing Reading Culture in Schools

The “”Recommended Book List for Primary Education”” project, constantly updated with new books each year, has provided a solution for creating a suitable catalog of resources based on subjects and themes, aiding in teaching, learning, and developing students’ reading culture in primary schools.

Some Recommendations

For the Vietnam Publishers Association:

Annually update the Book List, organizing for teachers and experts to read, review, and add new titles to the list.
Connect with specialized agencies, regularly updating guidelines to enhance students’ learning and reading.
Conduct training for teachers and librarians on using the Book List in teaching and learning. Regularly connect and discuss with teachers and librarians to gather feedback on using the list in teaching.
Organize displays and introductions of the Book List at Ho Chi Minh City Book Street and promote the list on websites and other media.
Link educational management agencies and schools with publishing units and school equipment companies to introduce the Book List to schools as a reference material for student book selection.

For the Education Sector:

Encourage the education sector to integrate official reading periods into the school schedule. Ensure at least two library reading periods per semester per class, and at least one period per semester for each subject or interdisciplinary subject, as per Circular 16.
Suggest increasing reading periods in class during self-study times: one period per week, and one expanded reading period per week for Vietnamese language classes in grades 1, 2, 3, etc.
Promote reading activities and educational activities that utilize publishers’ information. The publishing sector should collaborate with the education sector to develop a catalog of materials (publications) by theme, subject, and class level to serve the current need for innovative teaching and learning with published materials.

For Publishing Units:

The existing list of 965 titles (to be further supplemented) serves as a reference for librarians to select books in line with the annual plan of schools. This reference helps librarians confidently choose books aligning with the new general education program while enabling teachers and students to actively teach and learn with a rich and diverse book source. However, many topics and classes still lack sufficient books as per the 2018 General Education Program guidelines, presenting an opportunity for publishers to develop appropriate publications to meet teaching and learning needs, especially at the primary level.
Publishing units can participate in the Book List project by submitting sample books for review and selection according to guidelines (by subject, class, theme).
Units already participating in the project should regularly update their inventory and publishing plans, including reprint plans for listed titles.
In response to the rise of technology and the reading interests of youth in digital devices and social media, publishers of children’s books should also focus on and develop electronic books, audiobooks, and educational applications, making books more accessible to students through multiple channels, not just print books.
These are some synthesized opinions from the implementation of the Book List project by the Vietnam Publishers Association assigned to the Southern Office of the Vietnam Publishers Association in recent years, contributing to the development of a reading culture, particularly in primary education.

(As reported by Zingnews)

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