A reading space has been maintained in the central Vietnamese city of Hoi An over the last six years, creating and nourishing a habit of reading among local children.
‘Khong Gian Doc Hoi An’ (Hoi An Reading Space) was founded and is run by Khieu Thi Hoai, a 40-year-old attendant at the Hoi An Center for Cultural Heritage Management and Preservation.
While Hoi An used to be famous for its reading culture, things have dramatically changed, with many big bookstores having either closed down or switched to selling souvenirs or stationery in recent years.
Seeing this, Hoai felt that she had to do something to have local children love reading.
As she used to read books for her son and his classmates during lunch breaks at their school, Hoai realized that most children enjoy reading books and love to be read to.
“The only thing children need is being exposed to books and a bit of motivation,” she said, adding this is why she founded the ‘Hoi An Reading Space’ in December 2013.
The reading space holds book-reading activities for local children every Sunday, as well as allowing them to borrow books for free.
While reading clubs are usually held at libraries or schools, Hoai chose the entrance hall of the Hoi An Museum of History and Culture as the venue for her reading space.
“At such an open space like this, everyone can see the activities that are going on and they may not be too shy to join in,” she explained.
Children can now read books surrounded by the trees and greenery of the museum.
Hoai said she does not want to change into an ancient house or a bigger venue in Hoi An, out of a strong belief that “holding the club in an open space also makes children believe that one can read anywhere anytime.”