Hildan Avid Readers Program (HARP)
The English Hildan Avid Readers’ Programme (EL HARP) is a reading programme for the P1 and P2 students. HARP aims to encourage children to enjoy reading and make reading a way of life.
HARP works on a reward system, where children are awarded different coloured badges based on the number of books they have read. For example, children receive a yellow badge for the first book, a red badge for the 25th book, and when they have read 50 books, they are awarded a silver pin which is given to them during assembly in front of all their classmates. This positive reinforcement has motivated many children to continue reading, helping them to cultivate a reading habit.
HARP is unique. Unlike many reading programmes where the parent reads to the children, at HARP the children read to the parents who in turn give them undivided attention.
What They Say …
Through HARP, I learnt to memorise interesting phrases from books and use them in my composition and daily conversation. For example, I use the phrase “butterflies in my stomach” instead of the word “nervous”.
Esther Chan Hui, who received Gold badge (for reading 100 books) at the end of P2.
HARP was started in 1990 by the then Head of Department for English, Mrs Cindy Tay. In 1994, Mrs Lim Tai Foon, a senior teacher, headed the programme until 2005.
A HARP committee comprising Parent Volunteers was formed in 2005. Mrs Katherine Wong, the elected Chairperson, and her team took over the running of the programme with the then Head of Department, Mr Andrew Soong as Advisor.
Then in Jan 2006, the newly-formed PSG, headed by Mrs Katherine Wong, took over HARP and revamped the programme.
Button badges designed by the PSG replaced the old paper badges. A database was also set up to record the reading achievement of every child in P1 and P2. The information is shared with the English Language teachers to help them follow up with children who are not reading so that help can be extended to those who need it. For example, weak readers can be referred to remedial reading classes while reluctant readers are encouraged to read.
Different games and activities are organised each term to sustain the children’s interest in reading and to encourage their participation in the programme. It is hoped that every child will complete reading 200 books by the end of P2.
In Jan 2012, new awards were introduced. Every month, a Reading Champion Award is given to the student who reads the most number of books in each class. Every term, the class with the most number of students participating in the programme at each level is awarded the Best-Read Class Award. New Badges for new milestones were also introduced to narrow the gap between the levels of reading achievement.
The names and classes that win the awards are also displyed prominently on the notice board outside the library.
The Reading Procedure Chart
The Award Chart
Why Support HARP? HARP benefits the children.
HARP is Fun!
HARP is so much more than just a reading programme. Many of our best readers come to HARP because they love reading aloud to the reading parent and collecting all the colourful badges. Weak readers also get a chance to read aloud to an adult which helps build their confidence as practice makes perfect. HARP validates their effort, cultivates good reading habits and reinforces their love for books. Since we often have activities, games and give out little prizes during our HARP sessions, the children keep coming just to read, even if they don’t earn a badge for the day.
Develops Imagination, Creativity and Thinking Skills
Unlike TV or video, reading develops children’s imagination and creativity as they visualise the stories in their mind in order to make the books come alive. They ask questions, solve mysteries and try to guess the ending, all of which develop logical thinking and problem-solving skills.
Widens General Knowledge
By encouraging children to read more, HARP helps to expose children to different genres of literature – fiction, non-fiction, mystery, fantasy, adventure, science fiction etc. They learn about different people, times, places, animals, cultures, and improve their general knowledge of the world around them.
Practices Oral Skills and Builds Confidence
Children who come to HARP don’t just read to the reading parents. The reading parents also ask the children questions in order to engage them and see if they understood the book they just read. This helps the children when it comes to oral examination time, as they would, by then, be used to answering questions easily and confidently. This builds the children’s oral skills and confidence as the more times they come to HARP, the more practice they get!
Gives Children a Sense of Achievement
HARP journeys with the children in their love affair with books. It documents all the books they’ve read for the year and gives them a sense of achievement which is important in building confidence at such a young age. When they look back over all the books they’ve read, these young children feel a sense of accomplishment and take pride in their effort.
HARP is run by the PSG which consists of volunteers. It is with the unfailing support of volunteers and parents that the programme has grown from strength to strength and is able to achieve its objectives.
We therefore appeal for more parents to support the programme by not only encouraging their children to participate but also volunteering as a Reading Parent so that more children will have their turn to read.
We also appreciate suggestions and feedback on the programme as this is invaluable in helping us to improve the programme.
To be a volunteer or give your feedback, please feel free to approach any of the committee members or send us an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Tuesday and Friday
10.15am to 10.45pm