Engaging learners with page-turners

August 5, 2018

Students and teachers came to school dressed as Captain Hook, Old Master Q, Dr Seuss’ Cat in the Hat and other beloved literary characters for Book Day.


Activities on the day promote the joys of reading to the students of Po Leung Kuk HK Taoist Association Yuen Yuen Primary School, which will benefit from a new government subsidy for public schools from the 2018-19 academic year to encourage a culture of reading.


Primary and secondary schools will receive up to $40,000 and $70,000 a year under the subsidy.


The school’s principal, Alex Cheung, said the measure will help schools that want to try different methods to foster a reading culture.


“It is definitely worth the Government putting in resources to encourage reading,” Principal Cheung said.


Dive deeper

The school’s Book Day was a success and students said they were able to immerse themselves in the stories they read.


“When you go to Book Day, you just choose a book and without reading it, you won’t know what’s the content inside,” student Rabia Chan said.


“When you dive deeper into the book (then) you will know more about the book. And you can even imagine that you are inside the story.”


Fellow classmate Howard Leung said students are curious about books and are not forced to read.


“If you force students to read books, they don’t like reading books anymore, like homework. Who wants to do homework?”


Principal Cheung said he agreed with his students and limited the amount of homework so they will have more time to read.


“If you give a lot of homework, the students will need to take until 9pm, 10pm or even midnight to finish it, then how can they read books?


“Most importantly, we teach them to share. If the students read something interesting, they will share it with their classmates. We do not force them to do that.”


Keeping it fun

Students learn about how to search for books and listen to stories at weekly library lessons.


Parents also get involved by volunteering to read stories to students every week. They receive storytelling training beforehand.


“When reading to children, you don’t just read out loud, you need to interact with them, read together with them, and discuss the story together,” Mrs Sin, a parent said.


Another mum, Mrs Lam, said: “Even books without words can be interesting, we try to show them reading is a fun activity so they will enjoy it.”


Students are always reminded they are not only limited to the 16,000 books in the school’s library and are encouraged to pick up books scattered across the campus and read wherever and whenever they want.


The school has even obtained the licence to perform a Broadway musical so students can immerse themselves in the story.


Principal Cheung added the school tries its best to keep reading fun.


“We never ask students to read the books we choose for the purpose of writing book reports. If we choose books for them, they will consider it to be homework.”

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