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EdCityHK’s Talk by Dr. Elizabeth Ka Yee Loh and Alison Chan


Highlights from EdCityHK’s talk between Dr. Elizabeth Ka Yee Loh, Faculty of Education, The University of Hong Kong and Board Chair, Bring Me a Book Hong Kong Alison Chan on April 8, 2019:

  • According to the PIRLS 2016, students tended to gain higher scores on the reading test when they recorded higher in the three categories included “Students Like Reading”, “Students’ Confidence in Reading” and “Students Engaged in Reading Lessons”. However, the study revealed that while Hong Kong Primary 4 students scored the 3rd in reading achievement, they scored very low out of the 50 countries in the above three categories. Why is there such a gap?
  • You may have the following questions when promoting reading in schools: Do we need to choose books for the students? Why are students just reading simple books? Will students just focus on pictures instead of words? How to assess students’ reading ability without asking them to do book report?
  • Loh explained that there are two methods of learning: natural acquisition and systematic learning. Natural acquisition tends to last longer and the chance of forgetting is relatively low. For example, we are particularly impressed by the plots and characters of the TV programs we enjoyed, and we even acquired new languages unconsciously through watching the programs. Reading is the same. Therefore, we should let our students choose books according to their own preference so that they can acquire knowledge through compelling reading. In addition to classic literature books, Dr. Loh mentioned that comic books with positive values are good choices too. In order to promote reading effectively amongst students, the first step is to motivate them to pick up a book.
  • If reading involves assessment, this will hinder students’ motivation to read. Other than traditional book reports, Dr. Loh suggested teachers using “mind-mapping” method to assess students’ reading ability which requires less time in writing. In addition, teachers can conduct “book talk” for the students with the topics they are interested. In the long run, students’ analytical, organizational and creative skills will be enhanced through reading. At the same time, their positive values will be established through learning from the experiences/wisdoms of different characters of the books.
  • Researches indicated that diversified reading activities can help improve students’ reading attainment. Apart from using the EDB’s funding to enrich the library with more quality books, the schools also need to create a better reading atmosphere which allows students to “learn from reading”. Set up a 15-30 minutes reading time in school every day – encourage students to read freely, vote for their favourite books and participate in some small reading games.

Full Video: