In celebration of Paperback Book Day on 30 July 2015, The Link Management Limited (“The Link”) launched Hong Kong’s first ‘Red Carpet Fairy Tales’ campaign at Lok Fu Plaza. In today’s grand opening, officiating guests were invited to place fairy tale characters onto a giant storybook to kick off this summer’s event. Today also marked the semi-finals of the ‘Fairy Tales Storytelling Competition’. Thirty contestants presented classic fairy tales with their unique presentation skills, demonstrating a high level of confidence and creativity. The top five contestants from each age group will be shortlisted to enter the finals held on 2 August 2015 at Lok Fu Plaza.
Lio Beardsley, the well-known local illustrator famous for her work with the world-renowned fashion brand, Anna Sui, turned ten selected fairy tale scenes from classic fairy tales into stunning 3D art tableaus by incorporating her unique drawing style. Artists from the Arts with the Disabled Association of Hong Kong also joined to co-create the main stage, promoting social inclusion through the arts.
BC Lo, Director of Corporate Communications and External Relations at The Link Management Limited, said, “The Link wishes to promote a stronger parent-child reading culture through our ‘Red Carpet Fairy Tales’ campaign. The ‘My Most Favourite Fairy Tales’, the ‘Fairy Tales Storytelling Competition’ and the ‘Twist-a-Tale Contest’ all aim to encourage parent-child reading time. This activity strengthens family bonds, nurtures a child’s creativity and gives our next generation an opportunity to intimately experience the universe of their favourite fairy tales.”
Lack of a reading culture adversely impacts children’s’ reading habits
The Link conducted a Hong Kong wide survey on parent-child reading habits in May. Answers from around 600 respondents revealed a correlation between individual reading habits and family relationships. It found that 63.9% of respondents read books for only one hour or less per week. 30.4% of respondents only read 30 minutes a week or less. Shirley K. Y. Wong, Counselling Psychologist from Hong Kong Shue Yan University noted that as approximately 70% of the respondents were parents, the lack of reading habits would have an adverse effect on the reading habits of the next generation and is a concern.
The survey also established that 75.6% of children respondents enjoyed reading with their parents. However, over 80% of parent respondents spent less than two hours per week reading with their children due to the challenges of balancing family and career commitments. The survey results revealed that children’s needs and desires for reading and parent-child interaction are not being met. Wong added that a child’s behaviour is largely influenced by parent’s behaviour. If parents have strong daily reading habits, children can naturally develop an interest in reading. She also suggested that parents should try introducing fairy tale books with more pictures. The parent-child reading process is more than just interpreting written content. Discussion between parent and child about the plot and values of the stories can augment a child's interest in reading and further strengthen the parent-child relationship.
Parents recognise the importance of parent-child reading; experts advocate a diversified approach to reading
Further study showed that majority of parents recognised the benefits of reading with children, both for strengthening family bonds and a child’s personal development. Benefits recognised include facilitating parents getting to know their children better (85%) and increasing family time (81%). The personal development benefits recognised include improvements in a child’s reading (76%) and writing (73%) skills. However, the lack of a parent’s own motivation to read and the inability to lead by example prevent these benefits from coming to fruition.
Wong notes that parent-child reading methods can be more diversified and not limited to reading. For example, parents can try interactive quizzes, picture books, story discussions and role-playing. These methods can enhance children’s contemplative and conceptual thinking abilities, while family bonds and a child’s self-confidence can be strengthened.