Grant Status $1380 needed

large project to recruit and develop teachers for reading class +
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The purpose of this project is to provide free reading classes for rural children in Yongji County, Shanxi Provice. Project teachers carefully select diverse books and themes that are related to the rural children's lives and design student-centered lessons that develop social-emotional skills. They not only strengthen students' reading comprehension skills but also facilitate thought-provoking discussions that build up the children's sense of self-esteem, capacity for empathy, independent thinking and communication skills.
The students are in first through fourth grades of elementary school and come from nearby villages. Many are separated from one or both parents who have left to do migrant work in cities. Their families have low levels of education and few, if any, books for children at home. The schools are overburdened with not only teaching content knowledge, but also the responsibility of shaping students' values and life skills without much support from family education. The principals are open to new teaching methods and welcome this project's innovative reading classes, which they would otherwise not have trained teachers to provide.


Rural children in Yongji County have very little access to books beyond their textbooks and "reading aloud" or storytelling is not a common practice in their households and schools. Although the government and some charities have begun donating more books to start school libraries, these are usually kept locked up without dedicated teachers willing to manage and use the books in teaching. In 2010, the project leaders began experimenting with teaching reading classes in multiple rural schools throughout Yongji County. They bought books for the schools and designed curriculum suited to the needs of the rural children. Their classes have been praised by the principals and local education bureaus and more and more schools are welcoming them into their classrooms.


The children eagerly look forward to the weekly classes and are developing a personal love of, and motivation for, reading. Teachers report growth in their verbal and written expression and cooperative group work skills. They are also more practiced at thinking from different perspectives. The principals and other teachers in the school are becoming more interested in reading and RCEF is providing opportunities for them to attend trainings and conferences on reading pedagogy. The project teachers themselves also attend national trainings on reading pedagogy and have exchanges with librarians and reading teachers from all over China to share their curriculum and teaching experiences.

Team Credentials

The Rural China Education Foundation (RCEF) has supported reading teachers in Yongji County since 2007. RCEF carefully vets teachers for their educational philosophy and values, deep experience teaching in the rural context, and long-term investment in serving rural children. The teachers are locals from the same villages as the children they serve and have over 15 years work experience in rural classrooms.