Wednesday, March 10, 2010


March is the "end of the year" here in Japan and as such all of my kindergarten and after school classes are coming to an end and it is time to start revising everything we have done all year. This year I decided to put all the books I have read to the classes during the year into a basket and get 2 students to choose which books they enjoyed the most and re-read them to the class each week. It has been a great reinforcement time for me in terms of the importance of books in classes.
I try to read at least one picture each week to all the classes I teach. Usually the books will coincide with the "theme" for that lesson, but as the year progresses often they are just books that I enjoy and have no particular relevance to anything that we are doing. It helps having a huge bookshelf full of books that my children enjoy to choose from! I am guessing that the children I am reading them to probably understand less than 10% of what I am saying. Do I care that they don't understand? Not in the least. Do they care that they don't understand? Not in the least!
I find that one of the huge problems in classes of all ages here is the lack of concentration skills. I also find that most Japanese people don't even try to understand what anyone is saying to them in English - regardless of their age. They tune out right from the beginning. I believe that the huge difference between being a great English speaker is not how well you can pronounce things, but how willing you are to give things a try and giving things a try also means at least attempting to listen to what people are saying to you and taking cues such as body language, tone of voice etc. to fill in the gaps between what you understand and what you don't. I have no formal training in teaching English, but I do know that reading books to young classes is the best thing I have discovered. Of course there are ways to read books and ways to read books, but my way of doing it seems to work and if I forget to read a book each class I always get complaints at the end. My class of 32 five year olds today sat through a story that lasted more than 5 minutes. - interacting with me as I was reading it, but most of all "listening" The changes in the class have been considerable in other areas ... I think as a result of the book reading time.
If anyone is interested in reading books to younger classes (I read them right up till at least 6th grade) I have compiled a list of all the books I read this year to my youngest classes(up to grade 2). I have uploaded it onto Amazon - but of course you can get the books in other places too. If you do order them through Amazon just make sure you check which edition you are buying - some are much smaller or more expensive than others! Of course there are many other books I use, but these are the ones I used this year in 2 particular classes. Click on the links below if you are interested.

Books for teaching in Japan 1
Books for teaching in Japan 2

If I had to pick my favorite 10 books for teaching .... I would have to choose these ones... this week anyway! I would love to hear what books other people really like using. Also if anyone is having trouble with reading books to classes let me know - there are some great ways to make books more interesting to Japanese classes and also bring in important daily language.


  1. Wow Jo you've listed some great books there. My kids would love an afternoon infront of your bookshelf!!

    I have a limited edition Wheels on the Bus book where the parts of the book move which the kids LOVE.

    I also like The Wonderful House and the series similiar to the monkeys jumping on the bed but they are crocodiles-same rhyming style.

  2. My classes all love go away big green monster (I have a whole gang of 2 year olds who can scream 'GO AWAY!' with much gusto to the horror of a visiting teacher!) Maisy is another favourite, spot's first day of school and are you my mother?

    Reading is so important!

  3. モバゲー出会い掲示板は色々な種類の出会いを扱っております。登録無料で新しい恋の始まる事は確実です