The Tainan City Government is sparing no effort to promote English as the second official language of the city. Its most recent initiative is the “English Magic School Bus,” which is decorated with images of Clifford the Big Red Dog. The bus not only travels to rural villages with teachers to read English stories to children, but also brings children to downtown Tainan to participate in English-learning activities alongside Clifford the Big Red Dog. It is hoped these types of activities will pique the interest of children in learning English and encourage them to work hard to improve their English skills.
The Tainan English Reading Festival organized by the Tainan City Government’s Office of English as the Second Official Language (OEASOL) is currently underway. To ensure that residents of rural villages would also benefit from the festival, the OEASOL came up with the idea to adorn an official municipal vehicle with adorable images of Clifford the Big Red Dog and transform it into the eye-catching “English Magic School Bus.” The bus has already traveled to nine elementary schools located in mountainous regions, including Nanhua Elementary School, Longqi Elementary School, Yujing Elementary School, Neijiao Elementary School, and Nan-si Elementary School, to bring English storytelling activities to local students.
The OEASOL says the “English Magic School Bus” is sponsored by CPC Corporation, and it hopes it will encourage students to improve their English abilities. The inspiration for the bus is the global best-selling book series “The Magic School Bus.” This series is published by prestigious American publisher Scholastic Corporation, and brings outstanding children’s authors, natural sciences experts, and famous illustrators together under one umbrella. These natural sciences picture books have won a countless number of awards, are extremely influential, and are beloved the world over. This year (2019), Scholastic not only sponsored access to two English e-book platforms, but also authorized the Tainan City Government to use two of its most popular picture book series, “Clifford the Big Red Dog” and “The Magic School Bus,” to promote English-reading activities. They have successfully attracted the interest of children.
The “Clifford the Big Red Dog Magic School Bus” carries a person wearing a Clifford the Big Red Dog costume and foreign teachers to schools in mountainous areas to read English stories to local students. The bus also brings students from rural villages to downtown Tainan to take part in fun English-learning activities organized by Caves Bookstore. The children have enthusiastically participated in these activities. A school official surnamed Gao from Nan-si Elementary School said the well-known picture books featured in this year’s Tainan English Reading Festival have an intermediate degree of difficulty and are excellent learning materials. The “Clifford the Big Red Dog Magic School Bus” is staffed by experienced foreign teachers, giving students in rural areas the opportunity to use English to interact with foreigners.
The OEASOL says Clifford the Big Red Dog will not only travel to rural villages, but also pop up from time to time during “Story Time” activities to surprise attendees. Summer vacation is a good time for parents and children to learn English together. The OEASOL encourages everyone to make good use of the resources available through the Tainan English Reading Festival’s website and boost their English abilities together.