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Reading motivation project ‘Kids Read’ kicks off in Beijing

By Chen Liubing (chinadaily.com.cn) Updated: 2016-09-13 16:31 Comments

Reading motivation project ‘Kids Read’ kicks off in Beijing

British Council and HSBC staff members, heads of Education Commissions and primary schools, teachers and students pose for a picture at the launch ceremony. [Photo provided by British Council]

Kids Read, a reading for pleasure project, kicked off in Jiuduhe Primary School, Huairou district, Beijing, on September 13, 2016, marking the first time that Kids Read has been rolled out in China.

The project aims to encourage a love of reading in primary students, with the long-term goal of improving academic performance, language and critical thinking.

As an award-winning project supported by HSBC and developed and delivered by British Council, UK's official English and Cultural Organization, Kids Read started in 2011 and moved to China in 2016 with Beijing being the first city offering the program.

The project will reach over 1,400 students and 40 teachers of six underprivileged primary schools in the capital. The six schools are a mix of rural and urban schools, some of which contain a high percentage of migrant or minority group students covering a districts range including Chaoyang, Changping, Daxing, Fangshan, Huairou and Pingu.

Each of the six schools will be presented with a mini library of around 200 books. The books were chosen on account of their quality, color, fun content and ability to engage kids. All of the books are famous amongst children in the UK.

"Reading is the core part of any curriculum," said Sam Ayton, Director of English for the British Council in China at the launch ceremony. "Reading boosts not only technical skills, but also communication skills. And most importantly, it's a lot of fun!"

Zhang Huifeng, Head of Corporate Sustainability, HSBC China, said the company would like to build the Kids Read project a long-term and sustainable program as a bridge of China-UK language and culture communication. "The HSBC/British Council Mandarin Chinese speaking competition attracts more than 10,000 secondary school students in the UK each year, and all of them speak very good Chinese. We hope the Kids Read project will act as a same role in boosting Chinese students' motivation in learning English," Zhang said.

Zhang Jinxiu, Director of International Language and Culture Institute, Beijing Academy of Educational Sciences, said the three criteria of selecting a Kids Read project school are "Strong management team which treasures English learning", "Strong teachers with great teaching skills", and "Eager students who love English reading". "We will take Kids Read as an entry point and improve the overall development of the schools," Zhang added.

To further help foster a culture of reading, the schools have also been provided with little 'library books' for the students who will be encouraged to use the books outside the library. Each classroom will also receive a set of 'performance posters' where the children will receive stickers for progress and branded stationary such as Kids Read pencils, rulers and book marks as prizes.

In addition to these in-school reading incentives there will also be several competitions held over the course of the program. To help get the Kids Read message to a wider community, there will also be a series of community events held in selected schools. The events will be open to the children's parents and wider communities as a whole.

British Council also contributed to this story.

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