How do I nurture an interest in reading for my child?
How do I choose the right book for my child?
There are some frequently asked questions from our Huili Nursery Hangzhou parents. In an era where one can be quickly inundated by tons of information, the next generation demands more guidance from adults to raise a reading habit and read more quality materials, not only to expand their horizons but also to learn how to locate, evaluate, and use the information they need. It is an ability that allows them to become Huili pupils who are inspired, intellectual, individual, independent, and inclusive. The way how we contribute to it is to give them much-needed guidance from their early years.
Join us in our journey of Exploring Huili to learn more about the libraries at Wellington College Hangzhou and find out how Ms. Bronwen Duffield, our Head Librarian, answered these two questions.
Nursery Library: it is all for children
At Wellington College Hangzhou, we believe in “all for children”. Everything at our library is specifically designed for children in this age group. Can the children fetch the books freely by themselves? What is the ideal lighting and setting for them to enjoy reading? Huili has the solutions. Walking into Huili Nursery Hangzhou feels like we are in a mini world. The overall design of warm colours makes reading an enjoyment. What an adorable place it is.
The bookshelves, desks and chairs are friendly to the younger children. Even our EY2 children can select their favourite books on their own. It shows how everything we do is for the children.
There is a wealth of colourful books. There are books about a day in the life of a baby dinosaur or an unexpected journey of a toy truck. Whatever they are interested in, they can find a book about it here.
Books here sometimes go with a button; when you press it, you may hear a little monster roaring, easily recognisable English or Chinese words, or the flowing water singing in nature.
There is sufficient space for children to gather around the teacher and listen to mysterious stories.
This is where they learn both English and Chinese, experience the world’s wonder and find joy in reading. In addition, it nurtures their lifelong love for reading in both languages.
They can also borrow books to take home and enjoy with their family. Raising a reading habit needs support from family members, and quality family time makes a difference in a child’s growth.
How do our current families like our library at the Nursery? Ms. Wang, one of the founding parents with two children learning at Huili, said,
“The campus decorations are easy on the eyes with an elegant style, and reading corners are around every corner. It is great to raise a reading habit from a very young age. Nowadays, wherever there are books, Jiajia and Leo will take one and read independently.”
Click the link to read more about our interview with Ms. Wang, Preserving the innocence of our children .
Apart from the library at our Nursery, there are several other libraries for pupils of different grades. So when children graduate from the Huili Nursery Hangzhou and go to Wellington College International Hangzhou or Huili School Hangzhou, what surprises hidden in the libraries await?
Our libraries are a sea of treasures
A carefully planned and organised collection supports pupil inquiry, reading and personal growth by providing books on various topics in various formats. Each library on campus offers access to a bilingual collection to ensure the development of both Chinese and English reading and inquiry. While quality is more important than quantity, pupils at Wellington College Hangzhou have access to a carefully curated collection of over 70,000 print titles. These vary from a full range of non-fiction materials to well-developed collections of fiction, poetry, prose and graphic novels. The Pathways collection helps to inspire pupils in their choices of universities and careers. It takes 191 years to complete our collections if you read one book per day.
Listening to books is trending these days as it allows us to use a pocket of time to obtain knowledge. At Wellington College Hangzhou, pupils can also enjoy audiobooks by borrowing one of our Playaway titles, internet-free devices with a different story. It is an excellent way for pupils to improve their listening skills.
Pupils at Wellington College Hangzhou regularly visit libraries to explore books for personal interest and project work. The library they usually visit depends on their age and school, but pupils have access to all library collections on campus as needed. Let us have a look at the other libraries on our campus.
The Reading Corner
This cosy library in Wellington College International Hangzhou is designed for years 1 and 2. It is conveniently located next to their classrooms to provide free-flow access to a carefully chosen collection of classic and modern picture books, high-quality non-fiction and early chapter books. Pupils enjoy regular visits with their teachers and librarian to seek information and enjoy storytime.
The Wellington Library
Wellington pupils from year three and up visit The Wellington Library, where they have access to a varied collection of titles in both English and Chinese. English fiction books are organised into a genre to support pupils in finding books that meet their interests. The wide range of information books helps pupils find information for their interests and support and extend their understanding of topics covered in class. Pupils can access the eLibrary through computer terminals, and our Senior pupils can plug their laptops in to complete homework. Pupils from year four and up can visit the library during lunch break to borrow books, complete homework and ask for guidance from their librarian.
The Atrium Library
Pupils in grades 1, 2 and 3 in Huili School Hangzhou primarily use The Atrium Library, so named as it winds around the atrium space in the primary building. The collection in this library focuses on picture books, early chapter books and age-appropriate non-fiction books. There are also sections for graphic novels and other special collections.
The Main Library
Building A of Huili School Hangzhou houses The Main Library, which contains our most extensive collection on campus. This library caters predominantly for pupils from grade 4 to grade 12, but other pupils also visit as needed. The library is organised into two halves: middle grade and young adult. This system directs pupils to books that are more likely of interest to them, but pupils can seek books across the library as needed. The lounge area provides a cosy, quiet reading space, and the tables enable pupils to complete homework and independent study. In addition, there is a suite of study rooms around the edge of the library – all with large screens - that are utilised for whole-class lessons, small group work and independent study. A bank of computers enables pupils to search the library catalogue to find the books they need. The Main Library also houses our most extensive professional collection, with teachers across the campus visiting to see materials that support their practice and – in turn – pupil learning.
Lunchtimes are always busy in The Main Library, with pupils coming to undertake a personal inquiry, homework, creative and STEM activities, or enjoy a good book.
In addition to our physical collection, pupils have access to an extensive eLibrary with eBooks, digital audiobooks, encyclopaedia, databases, journals, online learning resources and recordings of plays – including some from The Globe Theatre. These digital resources provide engaging, age-appropriate research and reading opportunities to our pupils from Nursery to A Level.
Using a specialist library platform, the eLibrary combines access our licensed online resources with links to reading lists and research guides. The eLibrary is edited in-house by the library team and updated to meet our community’s needs. These include EBSCO eBooks, Flipster Digital Magazines and Follett eBooks. (For more information, please refer to the week ahead on 30 September)
We are our people - our professional service
UNESCO School Library Manifesto states that the school library provides information and ideas that are fundamental to functioning successfully in today’s information and knowledge-based society. In addition, the school library equips students with life-long learning skills and develops the imagination, enabling them to live as responsible citizens.”
A library can only be a library with a dedicated, experienced team of librarians and assistants offering a range of tuition, support and activities. Without this, it is just a room of books.
Our team provides instruction in library skills, collaborates with teachers to deliver information literacy, supports pupils with readers’ advisory and organises events and activities that engage pupils in reading and inquiry. They also help teachers through continuing professional development workshops and parents through information sessions and workshops. Collaborating with teachers across the campus enables them to offer integrated library support where it matters most.
Over the years, our excellent library team has organised activities, such as reading challenges where pupil winners are given awards and certificates, and several author visits, and led pupils to participate in the popular “Panda Book Awards” programme.
We were lucky enough to enjoy a visit from Karl Nova, an award-winning poet and author of Rhythm and Poetry; Will Mabbitt, author of The Unlikely Adventures of Mabel Jones and Embassy of the Dead series; and Karin Littlewood, an illustrator.
Panda Book Awards
Next week, we will launch the Panda Book Awards. This is a pupil-voted award that has been running in China since 2008. Our pupils have started to read these books and will vote for their favourites after the Chinese New Year.
Bronwen Duffield is our Head Librarian and is responsible for the whole library service at Wellington College Hangzhou. She built the eLibrary to ensure continued library services were available.
How do I encourage my child to read more at home?
As Emilie Buchwald has said, “Children are made readers on the laps of their parents.” We also say that children are mirrors of their parents. Therefore, one of the best ways to encourage children to read is to lead by example. When parents read for pleasure, they show that reading is not limited to school. If a child sees reading as a part of everyday life, they recognise it as an enjoyable activity for their spare time. They enjoy storytime by reading to and with your child from a young age.
How to find the right books for my child?
The most significant benefit of reading is the sheer enjoyment found in a good book. For parents, I must give a word of caution: the key is reading for pleasure. It is also important that a child experiences reading without judgement. It can be tempting to correct every mistake, but this can have a negative impact, so be careful with how you approach this. If a child is making many mistakes, it may be that the book is a little too hard for them now, and a better reading choice can be made. When no Accelerated Reader (AR/ATOS) level is marked on the books at home, we can try the ‘five finger’ tool. When a child reads a page, they fold down a finger for every word they cannot read or do not understand. If they have folded down five fingers by the end of the page, it may be a little tricky to read independently.
Du Fu, a Chinese poet believes that the more one reads, the better one writes; George R. R. Martin wrote, “A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies. The man who never reads lives only one.” People around the world at all times all agree on the benefits of reading. At Wellington College Hangzhou, pupils have access to extensive up-to-date, diverse collections of print and digital materials through five age-appropriate libraries and an eLibrary. These libraries are staffed by a dedicated team of librarians and assistants who introduce pupils to library skills, information literacy, book awards and varied reading engagement activities to inspire a love of reading and exploration. We believe these provisions at Wellington will help the children to become well-rounded individuals with strong values and the skills to thrive within an ever-changing world.