A Fabulous Friday at St Stephen’s Preparatory School in Stanley!

November 21, 2017 at 4:00 pm | Posted in workshops | Leave a comment
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Last Friday I had a fabulous time at the famous St Stephen’s Preparatory School in Stanley, where I was hosted very warmly by Yolanda Chong (above left) and Claire Braithwaite, and also had the pleasure of meeting the principal Dr Agnes Wai (above right) and deputy principal Mr S. T. Wong. I gave all the students from Year 1 right up to Year 6 my talk about why Reading is a Brain’s Best Friend. We explored how the human brain changed as reading and writing developed over millenia, until it became the sophisticated brain it is today. I told them all about the latest science, which indicates that as children (and adults!) stop reading lots of books in their leisure time in favour of digital games and social media, their brains simply cannot develop in the same way, resulting in a tragic loss of imagination, sophisticated vocabulary, empathy, general knowledge, and the ability to focus and concentrate. These five essential qualities develop naturally over time in the brains of people who read books constantly for leisure and pleasure, but cannot thrive when people spend lengthy periods on digital screens. And to my great pleasure, just about everyone agreed by the end but we must switch OFF our digital screens as much as possible, and read LOTS and LOTS of print books instead! Here are some more great photos, with a big thank you to the St Stephen’s Prep photographer!

A brilliant day at AISHK!

May 18, 2017 at 3:05 pm | Posted in AISHK, children's literacy, Hong Kong Schools, workshops | Leave a comment
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With Nicole Atkins, primary library AISHK

A big thank you to the lovely Nicole Atkins, primary teacher librarian at Australian International School Hong Kong, for hosting me for a fabulous day of story readings and workshops on Tuesday! The Preps up to the Grade 2s met latest Chinese Calendar Tales character in two noisy story readings where they cockadoodle-dooed and cheered on the national team of their choice in The Tale of Rickshaw Rooster, and learned a little bit of Chinese history about Shanghai and the international concessions in China in the early 20th Century along the way! Then I met with the fantastic students of Grade 3 to 6 in two sessions of my very serious workshop, Books are a Brain’s Best Friend, where they learned all about the importance of reading print books to the development of the brain – both historically and right now, in this increasingly digital age. The kids were so impressive, coming up with some fascinating questions and observations, and I’m quite sure we all – me included – came away from these two intense sessions firmly resolved to limit our time on digital devices to a minimum, and to read more books in our leisure time in order to maximise our chances of a fulfilling, creative and happy life. Please do keep up the great book reading, my friends at AISHK, and make sure you enter my next Clever Competition!

Thank you Avondale Grammar in Singapore!

September 1, 2015 at 8:32 am | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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A big thank you to the friendly, enthusiastic, book-loving staff and students of Avondale Grammar in Singapore for hosting me yesterday! We had a fabulous day of story readings with the Foundation to Year 2 students, who met Chester Choi and Pin Yin Panda, then my Introduction to Poetry Workshop with the Year 3 and 4s, and my Books are a Brain’s Best Friend with the Year 5 to 8s! We even had time for a quick reading of A Dirty Story to the Year 5 to 8s, who very accurately predicted the rhyming words to each couplet! I saw books everywhere, the teachers were huge fans of book-reading, and the students were clearly HUGE book-readers, with, predictably, impressive general knowledge and very interesting questions and opinions to offer. Now that’s what I call an education! I look forward to some great entries in my Clever Competition!

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