“It takes a village to raise a child,” said Director of Keystone Libraries Kacy Song. “And at Keystone, our village has willingly given their time, effort, and resources to help foster a strong culture of reading in the community.” From April 22nd to April 26th, Keystone’s 5th annual Love of Reading Week took place, with myriad events for all members of the community to enjoy. On the agenda this year the Academy welcomed a number of guest authors on campus who gave riveting lectures to all members of the community, Grade 10 students who eagerly presented their Personal Projects to their primary school peers, and bilingual book fairs and swaps.
Each year, the Keystone libraries enthusiastically curate a series of activities dedicated to fostering a culture of reading at the Academy. “In most schools, only one or two days are allocated as reading days,” began Director of Keystone Libraries Kacy Song. “For us, it’s important to conduct this for the entire week because we want to emphasize that reading for pleasure should be embraced, and if people have the entire week to participate in different activities, then they will be immersed in reading not only for the week but possibly for life.”
Much like the previous years at the Academy, this year’s Love of Reading Week commenced with new and exciting initiatives for all members of the community. Across the Academy’s three libraries, ‘Guess the Book in the Jar’ were one of the newest programs that was part of this year’s annual event. Beautifully decorated glass jars with a mystery book were placed in each of the libraries, and participants were asked to ‘guess the name of the book’ in the jars. Several hidden clues such as the names of characters or plot lines were given to participants, who eagerly submitted their submissions to the librarians in return for special prizes.
Other programs included in this year’s Love of Reading Week were Reading Tents housed in the primary school playground. Each morning from 10:10am to 10:30am, middle school students and librarians commenced in makeshift tents where they collectively read a book of their choice. The reading tents served as a place where students can not only share their love and passion for reading for pleasure, but exchange ideas about stories and even be inspired to craft their own narratives.
The Academy also welcomed several guest authors on campus to give exciting lectures to members of the community. Piers Torday, a British children’s book writer, gave a lecture to primary and middle school students, and signed copies of his latest novels, The Last Wild and There May Be a Castle. Author, historian, and educator Christopher Lloyd spoke to middle school students about his best-selling book, What on Earth Happened: The Complete Story of the Planet. Professor Zhuoyi Wang returned to Keystone during this week as well, talking to high school students about this year’s popular science-fiction film, The Wandering Earth.
“Every year we want to increase the awareness of Love of Reading Week to the whole community, and we want everyone to participate in the fun through all of the activities we’ve designed,” remarked Kacy Song.
Each year, student authors pen fascinating short stories or novels to share with their primary school peers during Love of Reading week, and this year was no exception. In the primary school library, Grade 10 students read excerpts of original poetry to younger students throughout the week. Not only was this a prime opportunity to perfect their public speaking skills, but it also gave primary school students a glimpse into what academic life is like when they matriculate into Keystone’s secondary school.
“This is one of the highlights of Love of Reading Week,” said Kacy Song. “For many older students, they have this notion that they possess all the knowledge in the world. It was interesting to observe them when they interacted with the younger students because I could see both groups of students benefiting from hearing each other’s perspectives on literature. What amazed the older students the most was how much their younger peers knew and understood about the world, and they were often amazed by the questions and answers that the younger students asked. Our students have such a sense of wonder about reading, and it’s wonderful to witness. That’s what is so great about our community. Everyone is so inquisitive and has a sense of wonder about the world.”
Looking towards the future for next year’s Love of Reading Week, Kacy Song stated, “This year we really wanted all members of our community to participate in Love of Reading Week. Everyone from students to faculty, to administrative staff, even our auxiliary staff was very enthusiastic about the events happening on campus. Next year, we want to extend Love of Reading Week beyond our gates to the greater Beijing community.”