Making news

HCM City schools take libraries outdoors to encourage students to read

Students of Ho Van Thanh Primary School in HCM City’s District 12 once used to huddle in a small library with only enough space for 10 of them.

Two years ago a portion of the yard in front of the library was converted into a place for students to sit and read, Pham Thuan Chau, the school’s vice principal, told Viet Nam News.

“The yard was also not large enough and so school authorities put small cabinets with books under the trees in the yard for the students to read during breaks.”

Of the books available in the school, many have been donated by students, who passed them on after reading them, he said.

Pham Duy Khanh, a third grader, said: “I like reading books and often read during the break.”

Chau said that the district education division had encouraged schools with small libraries to set up outdoor libraries.

In the 2014-15 academic year Ky Dong Primary School in District 3 designated a 120sq.m area in its garden as a place for students to sit and read books they borrow from the library.

Concrete benches and shelves were installed in what the school has dubbed the “green library.”

Many other primary schools in the city such as Tran Hung Dao, Nguyen Binh Khiem and Tran Van On have also created outdoor libraries.

‘Smart’ libraries

Many schools in the city have set up ‘smart’ libraries.

In 2019-20, for instance, the Tran Dai Nghia High School for Gifted Students in District 1 set up one with nearly 15 billion VND (651,000 USD) it borrowed from the city promotional programme.

The 1,000sq.m two-storey library has dozens of thousands of books and electronic books. The second floor is meant for students to read or study in groups. The library also enables teachers to use IT in their teaching.

Others such as Nguyen Van Troi Primary School and Lac Long Quan Primary school also have electronic libraries.

Encouragement to read

At Phan Chau Trinh Primary School in Tan Phu district, small book and newspaper shelves have been installed in each classroom to encourage students to read.

Teachers introduce books to students each week.

Students at Hung Vuong Primary School in District 5 are encouraged to choose two or three times a week for compulsorily reading books. Teachers persuade every student to donate two books to create a plentiful source.

Since 2015-16 the city Department of Education and Training has been organising an annual contest titled Growth with Books to develop the reading habit among students.