What happens when you give a mouse a cookie? Who is the teacher from the black lagoon? And who ate the big red strawberry? These are all questions that we remember asking ourselves as children, and these are questions that opened up an eagerness for learning more and an excitement for discovering something new. Storytelling, as we remember it in our childhood, was a crucial foundation for learning, and it inspired us to think outside our classroom walls.
Now, as ETAs in Taichung, we were inspired by these memories. We wanted to go even further beyond the classroom walls we’ve taught in this year and serve our community by hosting the first Taichung Read-A-Thon. The Taichung Read-A-Thon took place at Shang Shi Elementary School on May 5, 2018, where 10 Taichung ETAs continuously read their favorite childhood stories throughout the day. The Read-A-Thon was a collective effort between the Taichung ETAs to make a lasting impact in the community at large by promoting a love for reading and learning English.
In order to accommodate different language learning levels, ETAs picked a wide variety of books, ranging from “Yummy YUCKY!” by Leslie Patricelli to “Fox and Crow are Not Friends” by Melissa Wiley, and everything in between. Each ETA created an accompanying activity with their story. Some highlights included dancing, sing along, and TPR games that had students actively engaged. It was clear that this was a special and unique experience for many children in Taichung through their eager participation and constant smiles. After each 30-minute session, students had the opportunity to win free books and other prizes through multiple raffles. In total, over 200 students and parents participated, 5 hours of English fun were had, 200 slices of pizza were consumed, 50 book raffles were won, 10 different stories were shared, and countless laughs were had.
Here are some the Taichung ETAs favorite parts of the event!
“I loved being able to watch and learn from the teaching styles of other ETAs while simultaneously seeing smiles on the faces of all kids around me.” - Elena Huang
"I love story time!" - Alex Lin
“All of the kids were excited and eager to learn, which made me excited and eager to teach.” - Cynthia Joseph
“I loved seeing my students and so many happy faces at the event by having fun with them outside our classroom walls." - Emma Baxter
“It was a great opportunity to spread our love for reading with children of all ages and levels” - Maher Latif
“It was so fun working with entire families that day—seeing parents watch their kids use their English successfully and have fun with us was priceless” - Sara Scully
“Storytelling is one of my favorite childhood memories. I loved seeing other kids laugh with and be inspired by the same characters and narratives I loved growing up.” - Julie Lin
As English teachers, we equally benefited by gaining new ideas for the classrooms and learning from our peers. We learned by observing the other ETAs in action, benefited from new teaching methodologies, and were inspired by their incredible positivity and energy.
This event would not have been possible without the support of our wonderful coordinator Athena. In addition, Shang Shi Elementary School provided an excellent learning space that facilitated our activities and games. We also want to thank those who donated books, Slice N’ Dice Pizza for powering us through the day with their cheesy goodness, and of course, Fulbright Taiwan for supporting the event.
By Julie Lin, Emma Baxter, Alexa Wesselhoff