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Questions were raised whether the classes were cancelled. Yang Zhu immediately assured them that Ning Meng Yao was preparing the books for the children. With Yang Zhu’s assurance, a few women brought watermelons from their house to give Ning Meng Yao.
When they were there, they saw Ning Meng Yao and Yang Le Le busy at the courtyard. The table was filled with books that were just finished.
“All of them are finally done,” Ning Meng Yao stretched her back and pounded at her shoulder.
“Yes. When are you planning to start?” During the past few days, Yang Le Le’s relationship with Ning Meng Yao became closer and she also learned a few words. That made her very happy.
Ning Meng Yao pondered before telling Yang Le Le, “Go back and tell Uncle Yang to inform the villagers to bring their children tomorrow. I will register their names then distribute the books to them.”
“All the books?”
“No, just three books. Once they’ve finish learning those, I will distribute the rest.” Ning Meng Yao shook her head. She thought of using a modern way of teaching them.
Yang Le Le nodded her head in agreement. All of the books took time to copy. If the child threw them all away, then Ning Meng Yao would have to copy another set of books again. Although there was no harm in doing so, time would have been wasted.
When Yang Le Le went home in the afternoon and relayed to Yang Zhu what Ning Meng Yao had told her to. Yang Zhu immediately notified the villagers to gather before sharing the good news.
A crowd stood in front of the gate to Ning Meng Yao’s courtyard the next morning. There were children and parents present to take a look after hearing about the distribution of books.
Ning Meng Yao opened the gate and greeted them before asking them to form a line to come forward one by one.
Yang Le Le stood beside Ning Meng Yao. Whenever a name was jotted down, Yang Le Le would pass three books to the child.
There were a total of twenty six children. They all hugged their books happily and rubbed against them, not wanting to put them down.
“Remember to bring the books here tomorrow morning, understood?” Ning Meng Yao looked at the blissful children and smiled.
After receiving the books, the villagers took their children home. When they were home, they opened the books impatiently and looked at the beautifully written words. Ning Meng Yao was really a good person. These three books must cost a few hundred wen to buy. Although these were copies, they took her a lot of time to complete.
On the next day, the children who registered ate breakfast early and waited at the gate. Without a choice, Ning Meng Yao, who wanted to start a little later, had to let them into her enclosed courtyard where the tables and chairs were neatly placed.
“Sit according to your height.” Ning Meng Yao looked at the children and instructed with a serious smile.
After this, Ning Meng Yao began teaching them how to read the book by pointing and saying each word. The children followed attentively.
They spent around an hour reading all three books. After reading them all, Ning Meng Yao then taught them how to write simple words.
In front of every child were a sandbox and a branch. Ning Meng Yao took a regular brush that was the length of a branch and let all the children observe the way she gripped it.
When they returned to hold their branch, she would lend a hand to correct those who held it wrongly.
After every child was able to grip their branch properly, Ning Meng Yao used a white charcoal to write a large character ‘人’ on the board.
She explained the strokes to the children and they listened very attentively. When Ning Meng Yao told them they could practice, all of them eagerly went to try.
Lin’er was very talented. He looked at the word on the board and only took him two tries before the character was written neatly. It was also because the word was simple.
After the children learn to write the character ‘人’, Ning Meng Yao taught them ‘之’ which was somewhat difficult for the children. For those who could not write it, Ning Meng Yao guided them with her hand and they were able to write it after their second or third try.
The character after ‘之’ was ‘初’. This was a challenging character to write. After an hour, only a handful of the children were able to write it, including Lin’er and Little Mu.
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