Winning with reading

READING expands your worldview, unfolds your creativity and imagination, and allows you to see things from different perspectives. It’s a habit with a high return on investment.

Cognisant of these benefits and more, Tunku Abdul Rahman University College (TAR UC) organises diverse types of activities to promote the reading habit among its students.

These include the Newspaper in Education Workshop and the Peer Coaching Programme.

“The workshop enables students to use parts of speech, phrasal verbs and pictures from newspapers to create an imaginative story.

“It is aimed at developing students’ proficiency in reading, writing and speaking, and enhancing their critical thinking skills by matching information, and using logical thinking and creativity in their stories.

“The coaching programme is an eight-week mentorship run by students for students, to help improve their English proficiency,” TAR UC president Prof Dr Lee Sze Wei told StarEdu.TAR UC was one of the 79 universities nationwide that were part of the recent Inter-Uni Reading Challenge.

An initiative by Star Media Group (SMG), the challenge was born out of the company’s effort to inculcate the reading habit among the young.

Each student, college and/or university who read one complete story on The Star website, shared a story and visited the online page once a day would accumulate one point for each action, with the highest accumulated reading rewarded for their effort.Each student was tracked through the Student Plan subscription on The Star’s Digital Access, where students were tracked when they logged in to read articles.

TAR UC came in second overall and first under the private university category in the challenge that was held from Sept 15 to Nov 30 last year.

The programmes organised by the varsity focus on reading skills using selected materials to help students improve and expand their vocabulary and comprehension skills.

Aside from the pursuit of knowledge, Prof Lee believes students will be able to develop critical thinking skills, learn how to distinguish facts from fake news, and not be easily influenced by misinformation by reading more.

“In tandem with our ‘Beyond Education’ philosophy which encourages students to learn beyond the traditional classroom setting, contests like this enable them to be resourceful and alert in seeking out accurate information from reliable sources.

“This is to arm themselves with facts against fake news and misinformation that swirls in online spaces.”

International Islamic University of Malaysia (IIUM), which came in third overall and second under the public university category, has implemented nine practices to inculcate the reading habit among its students.

Among its practices are having reading corners in hostels and offices, book activities such as reviews and exhibitions, reading challenges online, and the setting up of a second hand bookshop by the student union.

“To create the culture of having a passion for knowledge, we support any effort to promote and motivate people to read.

“Reading is the best source of knowledge; its habit will nurture students and provide them with knowledge, values, wisdom and virtues,” IIUM deputy rector (Students Development and Community Engagement) Assoc Prof Dr Zulkifli Hasan said.Monash University Malaysia vice-president (Education) Prof Beverley Webster believes interrogating what you read to discern facts from fiction is vital.The varsity came in fifth overall and third under the private university category in the challenge.

She said engaging students in such contests will likely motivate participation, entice curiosity, and help develop important life skills.

“In many units of our study, reading is part of the expectation for students to prepare for their classes and their laboratory work.

“Students are required to research a topic for assessment, which will require reading.

“The key is to diversify the types of reading students are expected to do to be successful, and academics are expected to curate all resources for students and not just bombard them with outdated ‘reading lists’,” she added.

A nationwide scoreboard was put in place to track the reading engagement level for each participating university, college and student. Universiti Malaya led the pack with 15,735 points.

Under the student category, the first prize has a total of 50 winners (five each from the top 10 varsities) who receive an RM200 Shopee voucher each.

The second prize, which is valid for the top 120 students on the leaderboard, is a Yoodo SIM pack worth RM50 each, while the bonus prize sees three students receiving an RM200 voucher each for any instructor-led course at Redbeat Academy, AirAsia’s on-demand learning platform.

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