At the start of the 2019 elementary school year, a Grade 1 student asked her teacher if she would be able to choose new books at the book fair as she did in previous years. This 6-year-old child’s delight at starting school and the prospect of getting new books, as she had done with her 4-year-old kindergarten class in October 2017, and her 5-year-old kindergarten class in April 2018, is an eloquent testimony to the impact of our action research project on the Anicinape community school in Abitibi-Témiscamingue.
Teachers say that the relationship of the students to the written word (reading and writing) has been profoundly transformed during the action research.
Thanks to well-stocked literature corners set up in every classroom and to teacher training offered to meet training needs for the teaching and assessment of reading and writing, teachers at all levels say that the relationship of the school’s students to the written word (reading and writing) has been profoundly transformed during the action research; they also recognize that their reading and writing instruction and assessment practices have changed.
Several key factors contributed to the success of this action research project: a close bond of trust between the school’s teaching staff, a community elder and the research team; sufficient resources to make a beautiful dream come true: to equip all the school’s classrooms with literature corners and organize book fairs to fill these spaces with new books every year, thus regularly rekindling students’ appetite for reading; a committed school team (teachers and educational advisors); and a research team with complementary expertise that made it possible to provide customized training to teachers.
Good news: at the book fair, to be held in the school gymnasium in November 2019, our young reader will indeed be able to choose two new books, one of which she can take home, while the other will be added to the literature corner of her new classroom, for the other students to enjoy.
Christiane Blaser, Université de Sherbrooke
Deposit of the research report: September 2019