From 17 to 19 October 2016, the Foundation organized the Stone Soup Happy Reading Alliance Open Day in Hefei. Many schools within the Alliance opened their doors to showcase their reading environment and culture, and how they develop the school libraries into resource centers. The activity attracted over 120 participants, including staff from the Education Bureau, principals, subject teachers and charitable organizations.
The three-day program comprised of school visits on the first two days and a forum on the final day. The 12 participating Alliance schools included a mix of urban schools, suburban schools and migrant children schools, all of which demonstrated their distinctive approaches to the promotion of reading. Each school visit included a guided tour of the school and a visit to the school library; sharing about various types of reading promotion done at the school; demonstration of special reading activities; and observation of a reading class, library class, or subject class which incorporated reading.
The forum, with “How to Embed Reading into School Culture” as its theme, was attended by leaders from the Education Bureau, representatives of Foundations from Hong Kong, Taiwan, and Mainland China, high school teachers, scholars and academics, and principals of Alliance schools.
Chen Gang, Principal of Hefei Tunxilu Primary School delivered a keynote speech on “To Change or Not to Change: The Principal’s Perspective”, describing what has changed or remained due to reading over the past decade. The changes are on how school reading culture is defined and how schools are managed. Ten years ago, there was no consensus on the importance of reading; today, schools are working hard towards building “a school within the library”. What remains unchanged after ten years is the belief in happy and shared reading. The Foundation also looked back at its collaboration with Hefei over the past decade, which went through four phases: from donating good books and creating an overall reading environment, to developing school libraries and providing support for students to learn. The journey has been anything but smooth; but more and more people have joined in along the way.
Other guests invited to speak at the forum included: Mr. Leung Wai-ming, Chairman of Reading Dreams Foundation, who gave a talk on “Reading Dreams: The Experience in Hunan”; Professor Chen Chaochen, Head of Academic Affairs at the National Taiwan Normal University, who spoke about “Policies and Achievements in the Promotion of Reading among Schools in Taiwan”; and Ms. Hu Dongmei, Principal of Hefei Wanghu Primary School, who introduced the “Complete Reading Course Based on the Utilization of Library Collections” at her school.
Three days might not be sufficient to share all of the Alliance’s experience and development in reading promotion, but we hope that the Open Day showcased the strong belief in reading which is shared by all members of the Alliance including principals, teachers, parent volunteers and students, and which has taken root in every corner of the campus and permeated the school culture. As Mr. James Chen, Chairman of the Foundation, pointed out in his opening speech, “During these few days, what impressed me the most is the great confidence and sense of pride shown by principals and teachers in having reading as the core of school education.” The Alliance holds unwavering faith in this reading journey and will continue to proceed, with stout confidence and sense of direction, towards its objectives.
For more information, please click: http://www.cysff.org/event_2016_oct.html