The Latest

#ThankstoEducation My Students are Prepared for the Next Grade

November 13, 2015

“To my surprise, the students immediately showed interest in the activities. They became involved in the whole lesson even though I was not yet accustomed to this new way of teaching.”

In 33 years of teaching this had never happened before. On the first day of school enrollment for first grade, I had to turn away students. I asked their parents to try another school but they were insistent. Honestly, I was surprised. This never happened before I took Room to Read’s teacher training program.

I was already a seasoned teacher. I had previously practiced many teaching methodologies under the guidance of Cambodia’s Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport. And I had attended training programs at several other nonprofit organizations. But Room to Read’s Literacy Program is different.

In fact, the first time I participated in a training, I thought Room to Read’s teaching strategy was complicated, putting additional pressure on teachers. And the Khmer-language teaching sequences demanded more time and effort to prepare. I also felt I already had enough experience to teach first-grade students. So I asked myself, why I would accept such hard work in return for the same wage?

Sopheap Phum teaches phonics to her first-grade students using a method she learned through Room to Read’s Literacy Program.

When I finished the first course, I assumed there must be a good reason for Room to Read to propose this new teaching strategy. So I rolled up my sleeves, read the teacher’s guide book, prepared a new lesson plan, and started using the new techniques.

A Cambodian first-grader participates in Mrs. Phum’s class, transformed by Room to Read’s Literacy Program.

To my surprise, the students immediately showed interest in the activities. They became involved in the whole lesson even though I was not yet accustomed to this new way of teaching.

A week later, a member of Room to Read’s technical support staff observed me in my classroom. I asked her about my teaching and my students’ involvement. She was very appreciative of some of my lessons and demonstrated how best to teach others that I found difficult.

After three months, I saw significant changes in my students’ behaviors. Their letter recognition skills improved dramatically and by the second semester they started to read simple words better than I had seen from students I previously taught.

Over the next two years I continued to attend Room to Read’s Teacher Training. My favorite part has been learning new teaching techniques and sharing my experiences with my colleagues.

Now I find that students enjoy their classes from day one. First graders are learning how to hold pencils, draw different shapes, and color in the Room to Read activity books. Whereas I used to write words on the blackboard and ask students to repeat them, now I apply phonological awareness to expand their vocabulary and reading comprehension.

I am very happy that my teaching has also been acknowledged by parents and other teachers. My colleague from second grade has said my students come into her class with outstanding reading and writing skills. And many higher-grade teachers say their students are easier to teach because they come with a strong foundation in literacy.

This year I have a big class — 46 students who are eager to learn how to read and write!

***

Sopheap Phum’s story is one of a collection of inspiring stories we’re celebrating as we reach 10 million children. Read more in our special Impact Report, Thanks to Education.

Find out more about Room to Read’s Literacy Program teacher training & support.

Learn more about how to get involved with Room to Read.

A Cambodian first-grader colors in Sopheap Phum’s class transformed by Room to Read’s Literacy Program.

Related Articles

Khmer Rouge Survivors Shed Light on the Power of Literacy


September 05, 2017

Literacy, Cambodia

Read More >

5 Ways Room to Read is Improving Worldwide Literacy


August 03, 2017

Literacy, India

Read More >

Turning Classrooms into Playgrounds with the IKEA Foundation


Dr. Geetha Murali

| November 20, 2016

Literacy, Asia

Read More >

Room to Read and IKEA Foundation Make Learning Fun For 93,000 Children in Bangla...


November 20, 2016

Press Releases, Asia

Read More >

Sri Lanka Soars in Words Per Minute


November 03, 2016

Literacy, Asia

Read More >

A Veteran Teacher Perfects Her Style


November 03, 2016

Literacy, Asia

Read More >

Room to Read Accelerator Partners Win KidsTime Author Awards


October 18, 2016

Literacy, Asia

Read More >

Multiyear Strategizing at This Year’s Country Management Conference


October 18, 2016

Literacy, India

Read More >

Bringing a Love of Science to Cambodia’s Rural Students


August 27, 2016

Literacy, Asia

Read More >

For Room to Read, Quality Children’s Books Start in the Writers’ Workshop


June 29, 2016

Literacy, Asia

Read More >

How to Read to Children: Why Training Teachers Matters


April 01, 2016

Literacy, Asia

Read More >

Guest Blogger: How Opening Tabs for a Cause Launched a Library in Vietnam


February 17, 2016

Literacy, Asia

Read More >

“Sam Sat on a Mat” and Other Books That Boost Literacy and Help Children Jump-St...


December 19, 2015

Literacy, Cambodia

Read More >

John Wood: My Three-Phrase Philosophy for Changing the World Through Education


John Wood

| November 13, 2015

Literacy, Asia

Read More >

#ThankstoEducation I Won’t Take ‘No’ for an Answer


November 11, 2015

Literacy, Asia

Read More >

Meet Two Young Vietnamese Authors Who Created an Award-Winning Children’s Book i...


September 07, 2015

Literacy, Asia

Read More >

I Have A Crush on You (And you don’t need to know that.) by Thùy Cốm


February 03, 2015

Literacy, Asia

Read More >

The Art of Learning to Read: How A Little Frog Named Chek-Chek May Have Changed ...


January 09, 2015

Literacy, Cambodia

Read More >

Why Invest in Teachers?


October 06, 2014

Literacy, Cambodia

Read More >

A Passionate Teacher Pays It Forward


August 29, 2014

Literacy, Cambodia

Read More >

Video Blog: The Story of Cricket & Dragon


June 05, 2014

Literacy, Asia

Read More >

Geetha Murali: Can the Power of Play Re-Invent the Classroom?


Dr. Geetha Murali

| May 14, 2014

Literacy, Asia

Read More >

Why You May Care More About Education Than You Realize


May 01, 2014

Literacy, Asia

Read More >

Can the Magic of Teaching be Taught?


April 24, 2014

Literacy, Asia

Read More >

1000 Book Titles By the Numbers


March 28, 2014

Literacy, Asia

Read More >

A Mixture of Humor, Marvelous and Loneliness


March 13, 2014

Literacy, Asia

Read More >

Drum Beats. Chanting. Dancing. We Now Welcome Our Esteemed Guest…BOOKS!


February 26, 2014

Literacy, India

Read More >

One Community Races Against the Clock (and Weather) in Laos


February 19, 2014

Literacy, Asia

Read More >

A Leveling System to GROW BY in Nepal


January 21, 2014

Literacy, Asia

Read More >

Top 10 Room to Read Book Titles of 2013


December 30, 2013

Literacy, Asia

Read More >

Show and Tell: A Colorful Learning Environment in Vietnam


December 06, 2013

Literacy, Asia

Read More >

Success in Sustainability: Room to Read Libraries Continue to Thrive in Nepal


November 18, 2013

Literacy, Asia

Read More >

Passing the Love of Reading Down to the Next Generation in India


November 12, 2013

Literacy, India

Read More >

New Rating System for School Libraries Makes Way for More Targeted Monitoring & ...


October 22, 2013

Literacy, Asia

Read More >

Show and Tell: Room to Read Nepal Celebrates International Literacy Day


September 06, 2013

Literacy, Asia

Read More >

Video Blog: Working with Communities to Promote a Culture of Reading


September 02, 2013

Literacy, Asia

Read More >

Amphone's Story: A Teacher's Transformation


June 08, 2013

Literacy, Asia

Read More >