WISS Today Article

Opening a book is like opening the door to a new world of magic and imagination. The best thing about reading is that we always discover and learn something new, and that’s what we love the most.

Bookworms know that a book is your best travel companion, as Ernest Hemingway said: “There is no friend as loyal as a book”. Reading is one of the greatest pleasures in life. Many people say that without books, life wouldn’t be the same, and we fully support this thought.

A Story Behind Each Page

At the Western International School of Shanghai, we know there are many positive effects of reading. That is why we organize weekly reading sessions for our Early Years and Primary students in our library.

WISS student reading

At WISS, we help our students create a great habit that can be practiced every day. We encourage our students to get carried away by the amazing stories that await them on each page. We nurture a love for reading that will stay with our students for a lifetime.

Any moment is a good moment to dive into a beautiful literary adventure. We love when our little (and not so little students) use breaks between lessons to read an amazing story that has them hooked from the very first page.

WISS Book Week

Recently our school celebrated Book Week, a week in which we emphasize the importance of books and reading. During this special week, we offer a great number of activities centered around stories and reading!

The week started with the theme “Hats Off to Reading” as the kick-off for this wonderful celebration of reading. Our campus was filled with fabulous and colorful hats.

Creative hats at WISS

Early Years students wearing creative hats at WISS

WISS student wearing a creative hat at WISS

One of the highlights of WISS Book Week is our annual visit from a famous literary guest! This year we had the pleasure of having Martin Chatterton, a prestigious book illustrator, who organized different sessions for each grade. Students explored the world of illustration and even enjoyed live drawing sessions.

WISS student with Martin Chatterton at WISS

Students of all grades from Early Years to Secondary had the opportunity to get a close look at how books are illustrated. There was also time for our traditional hot chocolate with marshmallows!

Martin Chatterton at WISS

Chocolate with marshmallows at WISS

WISS Book Week was the perfect opportunity to hold our annual book fair. This year we have organized two book fairs – one in the Early Years building and another in the Primary building offering a variety of good books adapted to all ages. Book fairs give children the motivation to read because they get to choose the books they love.

Book Fair at WISS

It is beautiful to see how our young students approach the stands, skim through the books and finally decide what new book will be their companion for the next few days. As authentic IB learners, through reading #WISSstudents improve their concentration, vocabulary and language skills, not to mention learning about the world around them and developing their imagination and empathy.

WISS Students at the Book Fair

The finishing touch to our Book Week was our much anticipated Book Character Parade. An opportunity to showcase some of the most famous characters from our favorite stories. Both students and teachers dressed up as their favorite characters. Have a look at the pictures and see if you recognize any characters!

WISS students at the Book Character Parade

WISS students at the Book Character Parade

Our little Tigers expanded on the “Hats Off to Reading” theme that marked the beginning of this cultural week. And boy did they do a fantastic job!

Each Early Years class designed hats based on books inspired or related to hats. How creative! One of the Pre-Kindergarten classes designed hats based on the book: “A Hat for Minerva Louise” by Janet Morgan Stoeke.

Early Years students at the Book Character Parade

Kindergarten students found inspiration for their hats in the book “The Hat” by Jan Brett. Look at this amazing result! Fun and personalized hats everywhere!

Kindergarten Students at the Book Character Parade

WISS Library, a Special Place

And of course, we can’t talk about Book Week without mentioning our fabulous library! The WISS Library is a favorite place on campus where time flies! With almost 64,000 books, our library transports students to imaginary worlds full of fantasy and adventure!

WISS Library
WISS Library

Our library is as international and diverse as our student body! We have a collection of over 5,000 books in Mandarin and over 2,200 books in languages other than English.

In addition to the comfortable spaces to read, our library has adapted areas for studying where students can work and develop projects individually or collaboratively. Take a virtual tour of our library here!


The Importance of Reading Seen by Jenelle
Kirchoff, Secondary Librarian at WISS

Jenelle Kirchoff, our Secondary Librarian, organized
#WISSBookWeek so we invited her to share some her thoughts about the importance of reading.

Read her insights and tips on how to enhance reading at home below. We won’t want to miss her thoughts, suggestions, and advice.

Ms. Jenelle Kirchoff is from the United States. She has nearly 18 years of experience teaching students of all ages. She found her passion in school libraries and has a masters degree in Library Sciences. She is a certified School Library Media Specialist. Jenelle has a special fondness for picture books for young children, and one of her greatest joys is guiding students in research and writing. She thinks that libraries give students a place to expand their academic and personal interests. Jenelle and her two sons are excited to be members of the WISS community.


What positive effects does reading have on children?  

Reading has many positive effects on children! In addition to increasing vocabulary and knowledge, reading helps decrease stress and improve memory. 

How can we motivate children who don’t show much interest in reading?  

One of the best ways to motivate children to read is to give them choices. Often, we want to guide our children to a certain genre or topic. If we let children choose their materials, it helps increase their interest level.  

What kind of stories are recommended for each age? 

I recommend any story that holds a child’s interest, aligns with their maturity level, and is in-line with their family’s values.

What is that has surprised you the most about our students when it comes to reading?  

WISS students love to read! It is wonderful that we have students who check out books in multiple languages. Sometimes students will tell me that they have a specific book in a different language at home. It is wonderful to see their dedication to reading books in many languages. 

Is it beneficial to read books in more than one language?  

Reading books in a second language is an excellent way to learn grammar rules. When we see the words on a page, we are more likely to remember the sentence structure and vocabulary.  

Would you recommend parents to read with their kids before going to bed?  

My favorite way to motivate children to read is to them at night. While parents often do this for younger children, we stop doing this as children get older; even pre-teens enjoy having chapter books read to them! 

How to make reading an everyday habit?  

Reading and electronic devices are in a competition for our time. Try scheduling an electronics-free time in your evenings and fill that with reading. Carry a book with you at all times – you will begin to reach for it when you have a moment to spare. 

E-books or paper copies – What is your opinion about them? 

In regards to e-books or traditional print book, I think that both can be useful. I think it is important that younger children read traditional print books. Reading a print book helps a child develop the ideas of beginning, middle, end, mathematical concepts of numbers and page counts, and many other skills. However, as students get older, I think that the medium is less important. At the WISS library, we are building both our print and e-book collection so that students have many choices! 

If you want to discover how wonderful our library is, just pop in at any time to the Secondary Building! And if you prefer to visit it virtually, you can do it by entering our 360 virtual tour, and you will see it as if you were there. Are you ready for a virtual trip?

See all the pictures from WISS Book Week here