Since September 2020, Jan Amos Komenský Primary School in Sered in partnership with three universities with an international reputation in Slovakia, the Czech Republic, and Poland, primary schools in the Czech Republic, Poland, and a renowned publishing house in Slovakia have started the implementation of the international project LIRE (Language Interpretation through REading).
The project aims to combine different methods to strengthen the professional teaching profile to help change foreign language teaching through extended reading to an exciting adventure for students.
The LIRE Toolkit for Teachers
The university partners have finished the final version of a theoretical and practical part of the LIRE Toolkit for Teachers. As was presented in the last newsletter, this toolkit should serve as ready-to-use methodological material which teachers can use in the lessons of English to help their pupils learn a foreign language via literary texts in a modern and appealing way.
Practical part was created for twelve graded readers, namely A1 level: In Search of Missing Friend, Sophie´s Dream, Granny Fixit and The Pirate, Pollyanna, Anne of Green Gables, PB3 and Coco the Clown, and A2 level: Egghead, The Jungle Book, Treasury Island, Harry and the Egyptian Tomb, Harry and the Electrical Problem, and Enjoy New York. It consists of several lesson plans, a bank of extra activities and ready-to-use handouts. These were designed and finalized by the universities. During the final stage they mostly reacted to the notes of the teachers from the participating elementary schools who piloted the Toolkit.
The final draft of the LIRE Practical Workshop for teacher training providers
The LIRE practical workshop for teacher training providers has been finalized and prepared for piloting. The workshop is an online interactive course, allowing for active involvement and experiential learning in extensive reading.
The content of the workshop has been divided into three main components. The first component, developed by the Adam Mickiewicz University team, introduces the fundamental notions: extensive reading, its benefits and limitations, and general recommendations for setting up comprehensive reading programmes. The second part has been prepared by teacher trainers from Masaryk University and deals with the essential elements that organizing any extensive reading programme involves: selecting materials, the setting up of a classroom library, the reading strategies to be applied in the classroom, monitoring and assessment. The third module, designed by researchers from the University of Prešov, focuses on combining extensive reading with developing language skills and subsystems. This part also focuses on ways in which extensive reading can support CLIL, and the development of reading strategies by learners with special educational needs. Each of the course sections is followed by a short quiz through which the mastery of the studied material can be tested.
After finalizing the workshop, it was piloted by 16 elementary school teachers, 17 teacher trainers and 98 undergraduates. They all filled in the questionnaires and then these data were processed by the university partners. This provided us with useful feedback and a lot of additional comments and notes have been collected. Based on them the workshop is going to be further revised and edited. Most of the comments were positive; majority of the critical notes addressed different technical problems. Some elementary school teachers also complained about the level of the language which seemed too academic to them, some did not like too long and complex texts in the PowerPoint presentations. On the other hand practically oriented parts which provided concrete tips on how to work with literary texts in the classroom were highly appreciated, as well as the advice on how to work with learners with special needs. The piloting has also shown that there will be more work needed on the technical side of the tests.
Our hope is the project outcomes promote extensive reading among teachers and constitute a practical, user-friendly tool for active use. One of the occasions to advertise the project to teachers took place on May 2, 2022 in The Kroměříž Reagion Library, the Czech Republic, where Pavla Buchtová and Lucie Podroužková were invited to to speak to teachers from the local schools. The workshop entitled Reading in English as a Tool for Sustainable Education focused on extensive reading programmes and methods and included concepts, tips and actitivies from LIRE toolkit and platform.
Joint Staff Training in Poland
In the week from March 14 to March 18, 2022, Joint Staff Training took place in Poznań, Poland, under the auspices of Adam Mickiewicz University and Społeczna Szkoła Podstawowa im. Edwarda hr. Raczyńskiego nr 2 in Poznań. The meeting was attended by 21 participants altogether, comprising of teachers from all partners schools (15 attendees), representatives of the partner universities (5 academics) and one representative of Dr. Josef Raabe publishing house. The JST programme consisted of the training part, sharing and networking and, last but not least, practical observations in the partner school.
The workshops and lectures addressed the issues of motivating pupils to reading and methods and strategies of reading in and outside the classroom, scaffolding reading questions according to lower and higher order thinking skills based on Bloom’s taxonomy, managing dyslexia in the content of developing reading, and using reading for grammar-oriented practice.
The observations of reading classes took place across different grades in Społeczna Szkoła Podstawowa. The partners were received by the headmistress of the school and were given a tour of the school and in return, taught a lesson in two 6th grades, a spontaneous proposition of the Polish teachers to which their Czech and Slovak colleagues readily responded.
The JST meeting brought together all primary school project partners who were able to share their experience of using graded readers and piloting the LIRE lesson plans in their classes. They also observed each other’s teaching practices and exchanged their expertise. The workshops were conceived of as spin-offs of the LIRE platform and included both theory as well as practical, hands-on activities.
By the end of the training, the LIRE partners created a tight-knit, lively and inspiring community, the best guarantee of the project’s sustainability.
Project meeting in Brno
M3 transnational project meeting took place in Brno, Czech Republic, from May 19 to May 20, 2022, and was hosted by Masaryk University Brno. The representatives of all project partners were present. The goal of the meeting was to review the implementation of the project so far and to discuss stages remaining till the successful completion of the project. Another important item on the meeting agenda was to plan the dissemination of the project, such as the LIRE dissemination conference, and discuss further steps to its sustainability.
The meeting agreed upon the final versions of O1, O2 and O3, which includes formal revisions of the O2 lesson plans so that they have a uniform and standardized layout, and the addition of answer keys. Further, technical issues of O3 were addressed as based on the questionnaire research, these constituted the highest number of comments and reservations to the LIRE platform. The partners also dealt with proposals as to the dissemination methods of the LIRE project outcomes, one of such being via E-twinning and EPALE platform and prepared the outline to showcasing the project is the upcoming LIRE dissemination conference in Senec, Slovakia.
• Project partners will present the project outcomes at the LIRE Dissemination conference (part of international conference Teacher Is Not Google) held on 9 – 10 June in Senec, Slovakia. Eva Skočíková and Anna Lallouet will hold a workshop to demonstrate working with graded readers in English language classes. Michaela Sepešiová, Paweł Scheffler, Pavla Buchtová and Miloš Blahút will introduce the LIRE project and deliver a talk about the benefits of reading in and outside the classroom. All teachers are cordially invited. For more details the programme click here.
• O2 LIRE Practical Workshops for Teacher Training Providers were piloted in February and March 2022. The trainees provided feedback on the content, teaching strategies and activities, the format, delivery, the structure and other aspects of the workshop. Based on the feedback, the O2 LIRE Practical Workshops for Teacher Training Providers will be finalized.
• O3 LIRE Online Platform was designed as a source of materials that can be used as complementary to Practical Workshops, or independently as a separate interactive course. The platform was piloted together with Practical Workshops, feedback was collected and its content will be finalized in the following months.
• The theoretical part of LIRE Methodological Toolkit O1 will be translated from English to Slovak, Czech and Polish languages.
• Online WEBINAR on the LIRE project will be broadcasted on June 21, 2022 at 5 p.m. It will discuss the importance of extensive reading in English and provide practical examples of how to use graded readers with various age groups of children at school as well as at home.
Curious about progress and news?
More information about the project LIRE and what is currently happening is available on our official webpage and on our Facebook profile: