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Empowering Teachers and Frontline Professionals on Reading and Writing Difficulties

Date & Time:

November 14, 2012 (Wed) | 12:45 - 2:00 p.m.


Room P6-03, Graduate House


Professor Connie Ho
Professor, Department of Psychology

Professor Connie Ho received the Faculty Knowledge Exchange (KE) Award 2011 of the Faculty of Social Sciences for the "READ & WRITE: A Jockey Club Learning Support Network" project.



Around 9.7% to 12.6% of the school population in Hong Kong has specific learning difficulties in reading and writing. To develop evidence-based support to children with specific learning difficulties, the Hong Kong Jockey Club has funded an 8-year project (2006-2014), the READ & WRITE Network, to develop some assessment tools, learning packages, and school-based support models to help needy children from preschool to adolescent period. Teachers, frontline professionals, and parents have been empowered with various knowledge and skills in identifying and teaching children with reading and writing difficulties. Teams of collaborators in this project include the University of Hong
Kong, the Chinese University of Hong Kong, the Education Bureau (EDB), the Heep Hong Society for Handicapped Children, and the Society of Boys' Centre.

This project has generated some important academic and educational publications, including journal papers, standardized screening and assessment tools, and training-related curricula and packages for Chinese language learning that support children with specific learning difficulties. The assessment instruments are the first standardized Chinese screening and assessment instruments for learning difficulties world-wide. They have become the practical standard used by all schools and professional psychologists in Hong Kong. These evidence-based practices in the identification of and the intervention to learning difficulties have exemplified how good science can be applied to meet real world challenges.

Apart from developing and publishing these identification and intervention tools, many teachers, psychologists, social workers, and parents have been empowered throughout this project. Over 200 local kindergartens, primary schools, and secondary schools, around 20 NGOs, and 10 Government sections have been effectively engaged in the implementation of the programmes and curricula developed by the various sub-projects. Around 40 seminars were held and 10 TV programmes and newspaper reports have been produced to introduce the effective approaches of helping children with reading difficulties to the public. We will share in this talk the challenges of working with different partners in the project and means of effective collaboration.

In view of the effectiveness of the models and materials developed by our project, EDB decided to take up a long-term commitment of incorporating the outcomes of the project into the various EDB sections. Consequently, the Chinese tiered intervention model and curriculum developed by this project will be implemented in 200 primary schools in Hong Kong in the coming 5 years with the hope of making it a routine practice for language learning for all local schools in the long run.

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