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Reading English key to language learning

By Zhao Xinying | China Daily | Updated: 2016-12-17 06:49

Chinese students need better guidance and tools to help them forge the ability of "reading to learn", educators from China and abroad said at a conference about the teaching of English held in Beijing on Friday.

Wang Mengyan, director of ETS TOEFL Junior Management Center in China, said at the conference that many Chinese people have learned English for at least a decade and began to realize that reading is not only about understanding the meaning of the text.

"Rather, it's more about forming a person's own way of thinking, including critical thinking," she said. "Chinese students need specific tools to do this and one tool that turns out be very helpful is graded books."

Terry Wolfson, principal of Dalian American International School in Liaoning province, said reading is the foundation of learning in the US education system.

So it relies a lot on teachers to help children achieve their goal of learning at different phases, Wolfson added.

"Looking at my experience as an educator from America and a secondary school principal for a couple of years, we have a concept that every teacher in our building needs to be a teacher of reading," she said, adding that whether the class is art, science or English, the teacher should work to help students master the strategies of reading needed at that specific period of time.

The conference was organized by the 21st Century English Education Media Group, which is administered by China Daily and is dedicated to the education of Chinese young people with global vision and the ability to communicate globally, said Qu Yingpu, deputy editor-in-chief of China Daily.

"The group is also the host of the nationally renowned 21st Century English Speaking Competition, which attracted more than 600,000 elementary school, secondary school and college students to participate last year," Qu said, adding that the group has more than 10 English publications for teachers and students from elementary school to college.

The conference brought together educators from China and abroad to share views on important issues in English education, including Chinese students studying overseas, reforming the teaching of English and the importance of reading.

Awards were also issued at the conference to some English learning platforms, brands and schools to honor their contribution to China's English education during the past year.

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