READ... at all costs

Last week, there was an online article on a primary school in the west that reportedly made its pupils bring a book with them to recess in order to be allowed to eat (“Pupils forced to read during recess, or starve”, Asiaone Edvantage, 4 August 11).

The story said that the students were required to read while queuing to go back to class after recess. With few other details given, it got me wondering:

Do the teachers/prefects check each student before allowing them to enter the canteen?

What happens if a student honestly forgets a book? Is there a stack of books on standby, like what happens when you turn up at an highbrow restaurant without a tie?

Exactly how long does it take for the students to queue up to go back? (Must be long enough that the students can get into their places, stop chatting and STILL read a few pages.)

What happened to using recess time just to eat, interact with friends and well, PLAY?

Though the above is more like a ‘book AFTER meals’ scenario, I’ve had my share of ‘book AT meals’ experiments. I used to make my kids bring a book whenever we ate out so as to keep them occupied while waiting at the table. This had moderate success but the 10-15 minutes of reading time just wasn’t worth the ensuing bother when the books got left behind, or survived with food stains and slight tears (yes the books also got fought over). I abandoned this idea altogether when I realised that these few stationary minutes were better spent chatting and catching up with my kids.

So, it intrigues me as to how, and why the school is doing this. Like a parent who commented during the article, I too question the worth of a hasty five minutes, more so when they’re reading while queuing. I’ve no doubt that under the threat of ‘no book, no eating’, the students will toe the line, but I’m inclined to consider any benefits from this exercise at face value.

What do YOU think of this school’s policy? Do you try to find pockets of reading time for your children, and how do you do it?

Do share your thoughts with us.

Comments (1)Add Comment
written by Joe, August 19, 2011
Sounds like trying to make the most of every second of time. They might as well make it compulsory for the children to carry a book everywhere they go... even to the toilet...

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