Teaching children to read is viewed as an essential component of a language program. But this alone is not a sufficient goal for literacy education. It is equally important to help children develop a love of books and habits of reading so that they will read for enjoyment and for information independently. And most important of all, they will have the skills and drive to keep on nourishing themselves throughout their lives by undertaking learner-centered or self-directed learning. Extensive reading, therefore, should be considered central in the primary reading curriculum. The present paper is based on the Feasibility Study on Extending Extensive Reading in English to All Levels of Primary Schooling which was part of a project funded by the Hong Kong Language Fund . The report of the study was also sent to the Education Department for reference. The purpose of this study was to investigate the availability of existing extensive reading resources and the implementation practices of extensive reading schemes in schools, and to explore into the possibilities of extending the reading resources to facilitate extensive reading for primary school children. A variety of instruments were used for data collection. Three sets of questionnaires were designed to elicit opinions and perceptions of school principals, teachers, and students at different levels of primary schools as to the feasibility of extending an extensive reading scheme to all levels. In-depth interviews with selected parties, school visits and book try-out activities were also conducted to collect supplementary information and data for the study. The study revealed a big gap between the educational priority for reading and the current practices of extensive reading in the majority of primary schools. It was found that most primary students in Hong Kong do not have the exposure to a variety of extensive reading materials and they do not have the habit of reading English leisure books at all. Extensive reading was found to be a neglected area in the primary English curriculum. This paper discusses how resources can be extended to facilitate extensive reading in primary schools. It is hoped that the research findings as well as the recommendations made will serve as useful reference data for curriculum developers, school heads, teachers, publishers and other interested sectors, so that extensive reading can be fostered among young children in Hong Kong.
|Publication status||Published - Nov 1997|