Here to help beat the summer boredom, the second volume of the Hong Kong book guide The Read Aloud Collection is now available from Bring Me a Book Hong Kong (BMABHK), a registered charity and an advocate of family literacy in Hong Kong. The book guide is a compilation of the best English books for children from birth to teens, and is a resource for parents and teachers looking for recommendations for books for their children and students.
The books are categorized by age and theme based on expert knowledge from librarians, literacy experts, parents and book lovers with the aim of tapping into children’s interests. Research has shown the incredible benefits of reading aloud to develop empathy using the story, illustrations and characters of each book as a springboard for meaningful conversations between the reader and child. Based on feedback from BMABHK’s beneficiaries, the 2019 book guide includes a separate category “English as a Second Language” for Hong Kong homes and schools where English may not be the first language.
“Parents often complain to us that their child dislikes reading. They blame screen time for distracting and discouraging a child from picking up a book, but often the reason is simply that the child has not found the right book yet. There is always that one book or book topic that will hook a child to reading, and our book guide is here to help,” says Ms. Annie Ho, the book selection committee chair. “By reviewing thousands of titles over many months, our incredibly dedicated volunteer committee has made the job of finding that ‘right’ book for the child that much easier.”
According to the 2016 global research report Progress in International Reading Literacy Study (PIRLS), Hong Kong Primary 4 children perform well academically on reading achievement tests but they have the lowest interest and motivation to read out of the 50 countries participating in the study. Per the summary of the report issued by Hong Kong University, only 13% of parents in Hong Kong read to their children compared to the study’s international average of 39%.
BMABHK aims to change this and ignite a love of reading across the city. Over the past 13 years, BMABHK has installed 433 libraries, serving over 160,000 families in low-income communities. In the next three years, BMABHK’s plans include working with more kindergartens and primary schools in Hong Kong to help motivate aspiring readers through their “Meet the Author” program, and also collaborating more closely with local hospitals, health care clinics and pediatricians to ensure every new baby is read to from birth.