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How Reading Books Helped My Son Enjoy the First Grade (Before and During Pandemic)

by Jenn Grünewald, a "thankful parent from Klasse1D"

When my son joined Klasse1D, I have to admit that he didn’t know how to read (or write) anything aside from his name. I was really amazed though, that in the first 2 weeks of school he learned really fast and became more interested in reading books. I realized that this is because of his teacher -- Frau Verena Maschek. She used different, fun and interesting approaches to motivate the class.

Here are some of her teaching techniques which I really liked:

Introduced Fun Materials and Takeaways. After I picked up my son from school, I remembered he told me about a fun game they did that day. He was excited to tell me about the treasure hunt! Everyone in class got a wooden crocodile that had words hidden inside. “Frau Maschek slowly took out the words from the crocodile´s mouth and we have to read it and guess what´s in there!!! That´s so fun!“ he said with excitement.

Involved parents to participate in a Book Reading session. In November, Frau Maschek invited us parents to read books for the class. That time, Adrian´s Oma was visiting and she did our part. It was indeed a very special activity and made the kids (and Oma) very happy!

Let the kids choose what they read and present them to the class. This distance-learning activity was really effective and helpful for us not only because my son loves books so much, but also it kept him really busy during the lockdown without feeling so bored, he enjoyed every book he read! He presented 3 book reports to the class, gladly read some parts of it, and uploaded a video for the whole class to see. This really made him more confident, I have to say.

Read stories every day. It was a big challenge for young kids to do the distance learning for the first time. There were days that the kids were feeling sleepy and bored. But Frau Maschek was able to solve this by just by telling the kids that there will be story telling before the class ends. She would read to them, every day, out loud. This made the kids feel motivated and inspired to finish the class because they have something to look forward to. The stories are timely and fitted the subject that they were tackling each week. This made them enjoy and learn more at the same time.

Made a fun competition and rewarded students. I guess everybody in the higher class knows ANTOLIN. This is my son´s favorite! Since he knew that he will get points for every right answer in every quiz, he just couldn’t stop reading everyday, even during weekends. He was able to read 200+ books this school year! As a parent of a first time learner, I´m really glad that the school introduced this platform because it really motivated the children to read in a fun and exciting way! My son is really excited to start school and get more points in the 2nd Grade.

Distance learning is done for now and finally it´s Summer Break! Frau Verena Maschek recommended for us parents of Klasse 1D to take the 3 weeks of holidays free from school academics and activities so the children can finally enjoy their time and recharge for the next level. But she also mentioned that anyone can continue with voluntary reading. I took this as a positive reminder on how reading can help a child thrive during this challenging times. I read once in an article that, "Young children naturally have short attention spans and have difficulty sitting still for extended periods of time and reading with them will help them learn to sit with a story for the duration of the whole book. Consistently reading with our children reduces aggression and hyperactivity. I guess this is one good way to help our children stay focused on distance learning (when the next School Year starts again). But most of all, the best thing that Reading gave us is the feeling of love, security and connection with our child that helped make our relationship stronger during this difficult time. At least, if they are not allowed to go out, they can travel to different places by using their imaginations in the world of BOOKS.


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