Posted by: Jason | June 1, 2014

Reading For Success

Hello all, I hope you are fine and dandy. The weather is starting to turn hot and I can see summer around the corner. Soon it will be rain, rain, rain, so, right now, I’m enjoying the sunshine. Very nice.

Last week, I went to a JALT (Japanese Association of Language Teachers) meeting and they were discussing the idea of learning English through reading. And something that came out of the presentation really caught my attention. There are two kinds of reading. Well, to be honest, there are many, many more than two kinds, but, for right now, I want to talk about these two.

The first kind is the one we do in many English classes, whether it’s at junior or high school or at the language schools, and that is deep reading. You get a passage, however long, and you work together and try to understand the meaning of the passage. It’s usually quite long and quite difficult. It is a great way to learn new words and build vocabulary. It usually involves lots of dictionary work and is often very slow.

However, there is another kind of reading which I don’t think we do enough of – and that’s reading for speed. In this kind of reading, the passage is not very difficult. You should not encounter many words that you don’t know, maybe two or three. And, usually, the words you don’t know, you can get the meaning of by looking at the words around it. We don’t use a dictionary and you should be able to read the passage, from beginning to end, without stopping.

There are some great advantages to this type of reading. For one, it’s a great confidence booster. You can look at the passage, after you are finished, and say, “Yes, I can do that. I am that good!” Which is great. And, there is an added bonus. Reading this type of passage is great for learning and building upon fluency. What I mean by fluency is that you can use the language that you see, understand it, and produce it properly when you need to. In other words, you aren’t just learning the words, but, you’re learning how those words go together to communicate with other people.

Something I’d like to try in the near future is giving some homework assignments for you to take home and try to read. Very easy passages that you can read, and reread. Time yourself. How long does it take you to read the passage and can you beat your time. It will take me a little while to build up enough passages to give you for homework, but, you can expect this very soon.

Yay! Homework!!

Posted by: Jason | May 25, 2014

Spring Brings Sports Days

Hello all and I hope you are feeling fine and dandy. Today was a busy day for my family. Both of my daughters had their sports festival today. It was a lot of fun. It’s always great to see all the kids together playing all the different games. It’s such a wonderful experience for me every year. We really don’t have anything like this in Canada and I wish we did. So much community building and team spirit. Great.

Right now, I’m beat. It’s been a long day and I am heading to bed very soon. I’ll see you all this week and we can talk. There was a request in class for a country song, so, I’m going to be doing some country music in class. Also, I went to a JALT meeting on Saturday night and they talked about doing reading homework to build language fluency. That’s something I would like to talk to you about as well. Homework every week is a great idea. See you soon.

Posted by: Jason | May 11, 2014

Back from the Holidays and Some Library News

Hello all, I hope you are all feeling fine. The weather here was glorious this weekend and I’m feeling great. My family and I had a fantastic holiday in Taiwan this past week. Lots of fun. I highly recommend going. Taipei is a very nice city and the people were so incredibly friendly. I want to go back.

In other news, I was featured in the papers this week. As you might know, I do a story time on the second Wednesday of every month at the Kanda library at 11 am. The library was kind enough to talk about me to the newspaper. Lots of fun. If you know anyone with small children who would like to come out, please tell them to come.


Have a great week and I’ll see you all soon.

Posted by: Jason | April 27, 2014

Golden Week Is on the Way

Hello all and I hope that you are all fine and dandy. April is coming to a close and May is on the horizon. Which means that Golden Week is here. So, with that, just to remind all of you, we will be closed from April 30th to May 6th. Classes will start again on May 7th. I’ll be taking a little holiday with my family. Yay.

Not a whole lot else to talk about right now. We had a lovely weekend and the weather has turned nice and warm. Hope to see all of you soon.

Posted by: Jason | April 20, 2014

Hello New Year!

Well, the new school year started a couple of weeks ago and I’ve been very busy getting things going. I’m extremely pleased to say that this is looking to be one of our best years ever. We have lots of new students and all of the classes are full to the brim.

And, there is one more announcement as well. I’d like to welcome Natalya Zubchenko to the Able School family. Natalya is currently teaching the fourth grade and second grade classes on Thursday and Friday. However, it’s very likely that we will have more classes for her very soon. I’m very excited.

That being said, if you know someone who is looking for an English lesson, let me know. If we can get together the students, we’ll open new classes. Let’s keep Natalya busy. 😀

That’s all for now. I’ll see you all soon. Don’t forget, Golden Week is coming soon and we will be closed from April 30th to May 6th.

Posted by: Jason | March 23, 2014

Thank You Mr. Hine

Hello all and I hope that this finds you well. Today was a beautiful day, warm and sunny and the blossoms are bursting out as fast as they can. I like this time of year. Everything is so pretty.

Well, March is quickly drawing to a close and thus ends another year at Able English School. This past year has seen one very big change. Last April, Mr. Andrew Hine began teaching a few classes a week for me. He usually works at Kanda Elementary School as the ALT during the day, but, on Thursdays and Fridays, he came on out and took a couple of classes for my third grade and first grade classes.

He did a bang up job for the school and the students have really done very well this past year. He is professional and his classes are great. The students took to him and I’m sure they will miss him greatly next year. Andy is leaving us, and Kanda, to pursue a position in Fukuoka. We wish him all the best and hope that he can drop by from time to time.

Thank you very much Andrew. You helped me a lot and everything you did is greatly appreciated. Well done you sir.

Posted by: Jason | March 16, 2014

How I Spent the Day

Hello all. I hope this finds you fine and dandy. The weather continues to turn warm and sunny even as the weather in my home in Canada continues to be frigid and arctic. Good for me, not so good for my family back home.

Had an interesting day today. As many of you know, I go to a Japanese class on Sundays in Yukuhashi. Well, this week I had to give a short presentation. The class had to write essays and the essays were collected in a nice little booklet produced by the class. Very cool. My essay was about my first experience in Japan with a washlet toilet. It’s a funny story. Fortunately I recorded it, so you guys can watch and laugh at my bad Japanese.

But, this got me thinking. Would you be interested in doing things like this at the school? How about English speech contests and that sort of thing? What do you think?

Posted by: Jason | March 9, 2014

The Ants Go Marching On

Hurrah. Hurrah. Hello everyone and I hope that you are all fine and dandy. Spring is slowly creeping its way into the land and the flowers are blooming. A very big difference from my home in Canada where the temperature is currently -15 C. I think I’ll call my mother and laugh.

April is going to be here soon and with that, a new school year for the children’s classes. I’m very excited and we’re working hard to get everything ready. New classes, new textbooks and lots of new faces. It will be a lot of fun.

There will be one big change as well in April. As you may know, Andrew Hine is currently teaching a number of the children’s classes. Well, Mr. Hine will be moving soon and moving on to an exciting future. Mr. Hine did a fantastic job this year with the kids and he will be missed. But, don’t worry, next week, we’ll be welcoming a new face to our little family, and I’ll introduce him then.

And, just think, hanami parties will be starting soon. Enjoy!

Posted by: Jason | February 23, 2014

Go Team Canada

Ok, not much to write tonight. Team Canada is playing Sweden for the olympic gold, and I’m going to watch the game. I’ll see all of you next week. Have a good one.

Posted by: Jason | February 16, 2014

The Next Video Class

Hello all. I hope this finds you fine and dandy. I’ve been fighting a cold this weekend. Not very nice. I think I’m better now and one more good night of sleep should see me right as rain. It’s been a long time since I was sick and I am not enjoying the experience. I hope that all of you are feeling good.

As an experiment, I’m going to talk about what I want to do next week. As I said earlier, I’m going to be doing famous movie scenes once a month and next week (or maybe the week after) I thought we could look at this scene from the movie Sixth Sense. In the movie, Bruce Willis plays a psychiatrist who is trying to help a young boy who is very troubled. In this scene, the young boy tells Bruce Willis his secret:

What do you think? In class we can go over the vocabulary and listen to the dialogue. I hope this helps.

See you all soon.

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