Statistically speaking, Hong Kong
students read a lot. Well, that is one of the performance indicators looked
into when External School Review Team visits schools. But as teachers, we well
know the quality of our students’ reading is not that ideal. Like any other
activities they are engaged in, many students are doing it for the sake of getting
One of my favourite questions I
ask applicants on the occasion of Secondary 1 admission interview is: “You have
been doing this one article per day for quite some time. Please tell me about
one of the articles you have read?” Very often, the reply is “I have forgotten.”
This is the same reply I get when I ask applicants who have been practising
piano to introduce to me one of their favourite music pieces.
Reading, to most of our students,
is an assignment, a book report. It is not enjoyment as evidenced by the fact
that if given a choice, they tend to pick easy books to read.
This morning, I recommended to my
students The Adventures of Tom Sawyer
written by Mark Twain in 1876. Tom Sawyer, modeled on Twain, was a young boy
growing up along the Mississippi River. The plot is intriguing and the book is
not exactly difficult though students might need some help in understanding the
setting as this is absolutely unfamiliar to our urban students.
To help students, teachers
themselves have to be reading! Books, of course!