'George was a giant, the scruffiest giant in town. He always wore the same pair of old brown scandals and the same old patched-up gown," narrated Sornsiri Poovongsaroj, aged 11.
From left: Sornsiri Poovongsaroj, Piyanat Kundej and Thee Sanitprachakorn, students at Bhadungsit Pittaya School, read ‘The Smartest Giant in Town’ with charisma and panache. PURICH TRIVITAYAKHUN
"I wish I wasn't the scruffiest giant in town," Piyanat Kundej, 13, said in a booming voice as he forced each step heavily on to the floor to replicate the sonorous sounds of a giant's footsteps.
Sornsiri, Piyanat and another member, Thee Sanitprachakorn, 12, all students at Bhadungsit Pittaya School, animatedly brought to life, verbally and emotionally, the children's book The Smartest Giant in Town by Julia Donaldson, illustrated by Axel Scheffler. They were the second place team at the first "Readers Theatre Competition (RTC)" last year.
Once again, Asia Books, in collaboration with True Corporation and the Nation Multimedia Group, is inviting youngsters aged 9 to 16 to showcase their reading talents by joining the English storytelling contest.
"This contest is aimed at encouraging young people to learn and use English in a creative way, to use their free time beneficially, and to boost their self-confidence," said Suwanee Kalayanasant, Asia Books's marketing director.
Last year, RTC welcomed over 100 student teams; the number this year is expected to double.
Contestants can choose a story from a list of eight children's books, which include The Bog Baby by Jeanne Willis, Sir Charlie Stinky Socks and the Really Big Adventure by Kristina Stephenson, and Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs by Judi and Ron Barrett.
The competition is divided into five divisions: Thai and English programme students aged 9 to 12 and 13 to 16 in Bangkok, Nonthaburi, Pathum Thani, Samut Sakhon and Nakhon Pathom provinces; bilingual, international and English tutorial school students aged 9 to 12 and 13 to 16; and Thai programme students in other provinces who are aged 9 to 16.
Students should form teams of two to five persons each and apply by uploading an 8-to-10-minute .wmv file carrying both audio and video streams of them reading their selected story to http://www.asiabooks.com/Readers - Theatre/ from now until Aug 30. The file size must not exceed 30mb.
The judging criteria are articulation, accentuation, appropriate tone of voice, creativity, dramatisation, emotion, and imagination.
The winner and the first and second runners-up in each category will be awarded an Asia Books gift voucher worth 15,000, 10,000 and 5,000 baht, respectively. The team receiving the largest number of Most Popular votes among all the categories will be presented with a 15,000-baht voucher.
The voices of the winners in the various categories during their live performances will be recorded and distributed to the Thailand Association of the Blind (TAB) and underprivileged schools.
The recordings made during the first season have already been sent to the TAB and the schools that are in Asia Books' "Asia Books Library for Kids" project, a scheme under which the company sets up an English books corner on the schools' premises and stocks it with books free of charge.
Thee's advice to budding competitors is that they should practise by reading aloud as frequently as possible and recording their own voices during those reading sessions.
They should then listen to the recordings attentively with a view to improving their skills continuously. "Do practise as much as possible, don't panic, and do your best," he suggested.
More information, the application form and list of book titles are available at http://www.asiabooks.com/Readers - Theatre/ .