The writer (standing), conducting a session with children who were asked to bring their favourite book.

The writer (standing), conducting a session with children who were asked to bring their favourite book.

BOOKworms Penang kick-started its series of reading events for 2015 with who else but the precious young ones aged six to 13. This was our seventh event since our inception in late 2011.

This particular event was held at MPH Bookstore, Gurney Plaza in Penang recently.

The children attended the session accompanied by their parents. Although there was a drop in numbers, I fervently hoped it had nothing to do with a decline in reading interests.

This group, however, proved to be an active bunch! Even the six-year-olds could hardly stop talking about their favourite book(s) and characters! This, amongst themselves even before a proper start!

Each child was asked to bring along their favourite book.

They had to talk a little about it – sharing the best bits and why, their favourite heroes/heroines and the genre of books preferred. I found them all to be so forthcoming and articulate!

The mother of 10-year-old Winson Tan (he attends a Chinese Primary School), said that she started him off with picture books at the age of two and at five, he turned to reading other books.

He now relishes in reading a range – mystery and adventure stories, books with mystical creatures. He completed the Harry Potter series when he was in Year Three.

Another 10-year-old, Pramod Linganathan from SK Batu Lancang shared bits from Diary of a Wimpy Kid.

He finds the book funny and this led him to catch the movie as well.

His parents and friends encourage him to read – now that is a good sign, friends encouraging fellow friends.

He doesn’t like reading eBooks. Seven-year-old Pavitra Pusparajan from Convent Green Lane enjoys Frozen.

She loves Princess Sofia and the beautiful accompanying illustrations.

Six-year-old Paramjit Singh from Trinity Kindergarten enjoys fairy tales – Cinderella, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. His heroines are Sofia The First and Amber.

He gets his mother to buy books of his choice.

Haresh Singh, nine, from SK Batu Lancang, likes to read books on pirates.

He finds pirates adventurous and smart enough to find hidden treasures and they have cool names like Jack Sparrow, and even Mr Smith!

A very articulate 10-year-old Darsheena Vengadasan impressed me with her impeccable English when she said in flowing sentences about her love for reading “because it helps me fill up my free time”.

“It also helps me in my studies especially with my vocabulary. It excites me and raises my awareness of what is happening in the stories that I read.”

Darsheena’s favourite comes from the bestselling children’s book series – Geronimo Stilton.

She is basically into the action and adventure genre favoured by most children everywhere.

Before we gave them the little space and time to share, we did a little warm-up quiz on fairy tales to lead them into more related activities later.

In the second half of the session, Suriya, a reading enthusiast and a teacher from Penang Free School who is a core team member of BOOKworms, took the little ones aged six to nine, to spend more time on story-sharing.

She let them do gap-filling (orally), and act out some of the characters in the story.

Meanwhile, the writer conducted reading-related activities of a more challenging nature with the 10 to 13-year-olds.

The activities were timed and therefore competitive in nature.

All winners were given token prizes courtesy of MPH (more books!) and BOOKworms Penang.

The two hours on a lazy Sunday afternoon just whizzed by because the children were so engaged and engrossed in what BOOKworms had prepared for them to further kindle and sustain their interest in reading.

It is our passion that helps make things happen! So, listen to what the children have to say – READ! It’s good for you.

Bookworms share their stories