Thirteen-year-old Chun-to started with one or two books a week but in the past nine months he has read 137 books - enough to win the Education Department's Extensive English Reading Scheme award.

He became the top student from 19 schools participating in the scheme run by the Institute of Language in Education.

The Wong Shiu Chi Secondary School pupil suggested that he probably was a kind of bookworm and that he had few other hobbies, though he did once represent his primary school in a table tennis contest. But most evenings he spends reading to try to improve his English.

"Every evening after my homework I set aside one to two hours reading the story books. And when I had finished the ones I borrowed from school I exchanged them with my schoolmates so I can read more," he said. Chun-to said his favourite books were science fiction, detective and horror stories but most of the titles he read for the competition were famous classics.

"At first I had to read twice some of the books I found difficult," he admitted.

The school will not allow students to borrow books over the summer holidays but Chun-to said he hoped to continue his reading next term.

But as for his future career, he was still undecided. "I want to work in an office rather than labouring and I want to be able to use my mind, but it's too early for me to decide what I might do," he said.

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