Tuesday 27 January 2015

(Binh Duong, 27 January 2015) ‘Kids Read’ – the award-winning scheme developed by the British Council and supported by HSBC – was launched today in Binh Duong, Vietnam. 

Since its debut in 2011 in 10 Middle Eastern and North African countries, Kids Read has reached over 50,000 children in government primary schools with an additional 15,000 children participating in community events with their parents. It is now moving to the Asia Pacific region with eight countries selected for roll-outs. 

Kids Read was designed to encourage primary students to read for pleasure both in the classroom and at home. It will also help develop the English language skills of the future generation through access to the very best of UK children’s books. The launch ceremony saw Alec Williams, a well-known story-teller and reading champion from the UK, read two stories and a poem to a group of 30 primary students of fourth and fifth grades of Chanh My primary school. 

In Vietnam, the scheme is first piloted in Binh Duong province where six primary schools will be given 74 titles of the UK’s best children books, 30 Primary teachers of English will be trained to integrate Kids Read activities into their current curriculum. 

Over the course of one year, four thousand primary students from 6 participating schools will have an opportunity to read books, to join in story-telling competitions and thousands more will benefit from community activities run by HSBC volunteers such as reading and story-telling sessions, workshops for parents, amongst others. 

Apart from Vietnam, the other seven countries selected for Kids Read’s roll-outs include Bangladesh, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Korea, Sri Lanka, Taiwan, and Thailand. Kids Read is launched in Vietnam amid a public sentiment which advocates reading when local media leaked a report that a Vietnamese person on average fails to finish a book a year. 

Jon Glendinning, Director, British Council Ho Chi Minh City said: “This is a very exciting opportunity for both the British Council and HSBC to collaborate on such a meaningful project to give young people access to English as a vital part of a child’s education in a globalised world. 

“We are delighted that HSBC have been investing to such an extent in the community.  HSBC have been involved from the inception and planning stages of the project right through to the implementation and will continue to do so with their volunteer programme throughout the year.”  

What is reading for pleasure?

Reading for pleasure refers to reading that we to do of our own free will, anticipating the satisfaction that we will get from the act of reading. It typically involves materials that reflect our own choice, at a time and place that suits us.  

All the studies show that reading for pleasure not only impacts on reading achievement but also increases general knowledge (both from fiction and non-fiction), a better understanding of other cultures, community participation and a greater insight into human nature and decision-making as books show you other lives, and ways of behaving. 

According to a UK report on reading, pupils who had been asked to say why they failed to learn to read when at school, only one common factor emerged: “they didn’t learn, from the process of learning to read, that it was something other people did for pleasure...”

Notes to Editor

For further information, please contact

Dang Vu
Communications Manager
British Council Vietnam
20 Thuy Khue, Tay Ho, Hanoi
T +84 (0)4 3728 1920 ext. 1957
F +84 (0)4 38434962

About the British Council

The British Council is the UK’s international organisation for cultural relations and educational opportunities. We create international opportunities for the people of the UK and other countries and build trust between them worldwide. 

We work in more than 100 countries and our 8,000 staff – including 2,000 teachers – work with thousands of professionals and policy makers and millions of young people every year by teaching English, sharing the arts and delivering education and society programmes.

We are a UK charity governed by Royal Charter. A core publicly-funded grant provides 20 per cent of our turnover which last year was £864 million. The rest of our revenues are earned from services which customers around the world pay for, such as English classes and taking UK examinations, and also through education and development contracts and from partnerships with public and private organisations. All our work is in pursuit of our charitable purpose and supports prosperity and security for the UK and globally.   

For more information, please visit: www.britishcouncil.org. You can also keep in touch with the British Council through http://twitter.com/britishcouncil and http://blog.britishcouncil.org/.