British Council

On its third year in Vietnam, ‘Kids Read’, the award-winning reading programme aimed at school children developed by the British Council and fully sponsored by HSBC, will be implemented in Ho Chi Minh city. The launching ceremony was held on 14 April 2017, and included a story-telling demonstration by a British Council trainer and 180 primary students. 

Kids Read has been successful in Vietnam with nearly 4,000 students in Hanoi and over 3,500 students in Binh Duong participating in the project. A further 10,000 primary students have benefitted from the library set up by the project and from learning with the 50 teachers trained by the project. As well as books being delivered to schools and teacher training workshops and competitions for both students and teachers, community events were organised attracting thousands of parents and children. 

The Kids Read project outcomes have been overwhelmingly positive after two years in Binh Duong and Hanoi; students have developed their reading habits; teachers have been trained and supported by British Council experts and are able to incorporate storytelling in English in their class; do better lesson planning; and parents have had access to book lists and methods to encourage their children to read and love reading more. 

Kids Read fits with the Ministry of Education and Training’s plan to develop libraries at primary schools and also contributes to help the participating schools to achieve the targets of the National Foreign Language Project of Ho Chi Minh City. Ho Chi Minh City Department of Education welcomes the project by the British Council and HSBC in six schools in the city this year and will support the project to achieve its target. 

In 2017, Kids Read will set up a library in six primary schools and provide 200 story books to each school.  The library is a resource for schools to proactively organise reading sessions for children and for teachers to embed creative reading activities in their regular teaching. The 6 participating primary schools are: Tan Thong Primary School – Cu Chi district; Ly Chinh Thang Primary School – Hoc Mon District; Nguyen Truc Primary School – Nha Be District; Binh Chanh Primary School – Binh Chanh District; Le Quy Don Primary School – Binh Tan District; and Can Thạnh Primary School – Can Gio District. 4,000 students from these schools will have access to more books and take part in reading challenges. 

Jon Glendinning, Director of the British Council Vietnam in Ho Chi Minh said: ‘Reading is a transferable skill that opens up a world of opportunities for children. Good reading habits established early, improve later performance in a range of life skills as well as developing language and critical thinking skills. The Kids Read project encourages Vietnamese primary children 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. This is a very exciting opportunity for both the British Council and HSBC to collaborate with Ho Chi Minh City 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.'

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), gives us a better understanding of other cultures, encourages community participation and allows us a greater insight into human nature and decision-making as books show you other lives and ways of behaving.