LAHORE – British Council in collaboration with HSBC launched the second year of their ‘Kids Read’ programme, an initiative aimed at fostering good reading habits and encouraging reading for pleasure inside and outside the classroom among students in government primary schools across the Middle East region and Asia.

The launch was inaugurated by Ray Brown, English Language Advisor at British Council Pakistan. He emphasised the importance of developing a reading habit. In addition to parents, teachers and other government officials, educationists were also present at the event.

A number of books and interactive lesson plans have been made available to teachers, for use during class time, which will support students moving from teacher-led reading to becoming independent readers. The community events revolve around the themes of Value for Money, Arts and Culture, Volunteerism and the Environment.

Speaking on the occasion, Ray Brown said, “We are immensely excited to launch the second year of Kids Read Programme, which is funded exclusively by HSBC Bank Middle East & Affiliates. This year, we will be able to reach out to over 25,000 students, in the region, through schools in Bahrain, Egypt, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Oman, Pakistan, Palestine, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the UAE.  Kids Read is an important aspect of our English for the Future offer for the region”.

During its first year “Kids Read” was awarded a Silver ‘Stevie’ Award in the Corporate Social Responsibility Programme of the Year (Middle East and Africa) category in the 2012 International Business Awards.

As with the first year, HSBC will fund the activities of the programme, including providing selected books to participating schools, facilitating workshops to be conducted by British Council trainers, story telling sessions in a community atmosphere and competitions, as well as encouraging over 300 members of staff to be involved directly with the programme on the ground.

The Kids Read Launch was initiated simultaneously in schools in Islamabad, Lahore and Karachi keeping a balance between private and government schools in all three cities.