Phew. Tough day with emotional roller-coaster. I had 4 classes but many kids didn't show up for it was the first day of 3 days holiday in Tokyo. Which got me the severe guilt-trip but I managed to do my best and discover some of treatable issues with one student.
She, Student Y, struggled so much to catch up other two students and I suggested that she should be in a lower level class. Yesterday was the first time she was in the lower class. Fortunately, other two students didn't come and I had a chance to explain to her why her class was changed. She looked happy and was motivated to do the best she could. She was quite engaged and worked really hard, much harder than before, to read one of the books of ORT stage 1 one word by one word. Obviously books in the previous higher leveled class was inappropriate level for her. She was slow but showed a promising enthusiasm to tackle the book I introduced. I am so sure that she could be much better and fluent reader if she doesn't give up on herself. She needed more comprehensible input and output. Via some pre and post reading activities, I hope she will find the joy of reading not the sense of pressure to read.
As far as the children in the current English education in Japan are concerned, they need to acquire reading and writing skills in order to achieve reasonable grades if not the best. It is undeniable fact that they deal with lots of tests on the two skills mainly. There are some listening comprehension tests at schools yet they take only 5 to 10 % of the whole score. Tests are still made to measure student's reading and writing/ spelling skills.
I often think the joy or love of reading should be cultivated before they started to feel forced to read. Otherwise, such a pleasurable activity such as reading would be nothing but a mere requirement for school work. That would be a huge loss in a long run since reading can be a life-time companion to feed your soul.
It has been painful to witness some children who don't know the joy of reading. This is one of my mission as a TEYL and a mum. At the moment I hypothesize that ER plus IR with pre and post activities might get children a fluent and possibly life-long reader.