On August 17-19, 2012, the OCEF 20th anniversary celebration took place in Beijing in conjunction with the First OCEF Coordinator Conference. More than 60 OCEF coordinators and other key volunteers attended the events from all parts of China. The cost of the events was sponsored by a long-time donor and volunteer, Mr. Li Qingsong, whose generosity is greatly appreciated. Later this fall, there will be other events celebrating the OCEF anniversary in North America, including New York, Houston and northern California. For further details, please visit https://china.ocef.org/bbs/thread-87098-1-1.html.
Last July, the 2012 "Love Reading" Summer Camp, a project developed jointly by Professor Zhang Ling's team at Ningxia University and the OCEF, was held at the Nongmuchang Elementary School in Xixia District, City of Yinchuan. The eight-day event was hosted by teachers of the Nongmuchang Elementary School and those from the Haiyuan County Reading Project, and was designed to inspire the students' desire to read and improve their comprehension skills. The program was divided into two parts, the first two days dedicated to training for the teachers, and the last six days, themed reading for the students. Fifty students from the 2nd through the 5th grades at the Nongmuchang Elementary School attended the program, most of them from economically disadvantaged migrant families and previously demonstrating underdeveloped reading skills.
The most notable feature of the summer camp was that the reading activities were organized into daily themes to stimulate the children's interests in reading through creative program design. Each of the six days in the reading program was focused on a unique theme, namely "Exploration and Treasure Hunt," "Love and Affection," "Experiencing the Nature," "Emotion and Attitude," "Tenacity and Courage," and "Review and Presentation." During the six days, the children actively, joyfully, and attentively participated in all camp activities. Morning recitals and silent reading at noon gradually became parts of their daily routine, and the book corner turned into the most popular spot in each classroom. The amount of reading material covered by each student and their enthusiasm in expressing themselves grew day by day, until girls who are naturally shy also came forward to tell stories or otherwise share their accomplishments with the class.
An equally important purpose of the summer camp was to provide training to the teachers by helping them adjust their educational philosophy, master the best approach to direct reading programs, and gain firsthand experience for similar activities in the future. As a part of the summer camp, four teachers from the Nongmuchang Elementary School, two from the Shutai Central Elementary School in Haiyuan County, two from the Guanqiao Central Elementary School in Haiyuan County, and four graduate students on Professor Zhang Ling's team at Ningxia University received practical training as "seed" teachers and improved their ability as reading mentors. These efforts contributed to the creation of a reliable core of qualified teachers to ensure the lasting growth of the OCEF's reading programs.
Haiyuan County in Ningxia is a focus area for the OCEF's library program, which has allocated a large number of books for participating schools in the county. How to make the best use of these books and encourage the students to read them has long been an issue weighing heavy on the teachers mind. The camp offered a good opportunity for the teachers from Haiyuan to enhance their teaching skills through seminars, lectures, and class evaluation. The experience broadened their horizon and gave them new classroom tools, and each of them gained increased confidence from it. We would like to take this opportunity to express our gratitude to all of the donors to the OCEF, to Professor Zhang Ling and her team, to the Nongmuchang Elementary School, and to the students who participated. We look forward to an even more successful and beneficial "Love Reading" summer camp next year!