When I was in Nyaungshwe I did a three-day teaching stint at the primary school in Shan State’s Tat Ein village. I taught English to the third, fourth, and fifth grade classes during morning and afternoon sessions,. I’ll write more about that incredible experience in an additional post in the next week or so. But today I just wanted to highlight one of the books that I used during the lessons; Go, Dog. Go! by P.D. Eastman. It’s very much in the style of Dr. Seuss, and some people assume it actually is Dr. Seuss due to the similar colorful illustrations and zany characters.
I wasn’t sure how this book would connect with the kids at Tat Ein. They all have English lessons during their regular classes, but their language skills are very, very basic and they can’t read very well. They can count to ten and spell d-o-g and c-a-t, but not much more than that. Anyway, I’m pleased to report that Go, Dog. Go! was a hit, a huge hit. The kids really loved it, marveling at the wild characters and cracking up at the funny bits. Clearly, the children enjoyed the story, thanks mainly to those colorful illustrations.
It helped that the vocabulary in the book was easy, and also easy enough for me to translate most parts in Burmese. It didn’t matter which class I read it to, they all huddled around me and urged me to turn the pages faster. They wanted to know what was going on at the top of that tree! I’d also ask them questions about what was happening on each page. How many dogs are there? What color is his hat? What color is the car? What game are they playing? Really, reading this book was one of the highlights of the lessons. I didn’t have the heart to take the book back with me when I was finished, so I left it with one of the other teachers, hoping she can get some mileage out of it too.