ONLY one out of seven students is interested in reading books outside the classroom curriculum, according to a schools survey. The Commercial Press (HK) recently launched a study of school children's reading habits titled ''Research on Hongkong Secondary School Teachers' Promotion of Extra-Curricular Readings to Students''. The survey was a continuation of the 1991 ''Study on the Behaviour of Hongkong Secondary School Students' in Reading Chinese Extra-curricular Books''. The previous study had found that 72 per cent of the 1,278 pupils interviewed read because ''they had nothing to do.'' Statistics for the new study were collected at most of the 20 sampling schools approached on the previous occasion. Those interviewed included 19 student representatives and 68 teachers and school librarians. About 50 per cent of the teachers said their reading promotional effort had produced ''fair'' results, 25.4 per cent claimed it was successful and the rest said it had failed. The chief reason cited for failure was that the majority of students (60 per cent) found other leisure activities ''more attractive'' than reading. Fifty-three per cent were ''not eager to learn'', while 40 per cent said their studies left them with no time to read. Almost 80 per cent of the teachers said their schools had offered financial and other support to promote extra-curricular reading. However, Mr Kwong Chi-hung, who is president of the Hongkong Library Association, said he had some reservations about school support. He said that as far as he was aware, many schools used only part of the Government's reading project grants for the purpose. Mr Ho Fai-ming, a teacher-librarian at The Yuen Yuen Institute No 1 Secondary School, said the grant of $28 per student each year was not enough. He also claimed that students, especially those in the lower forms, had a limited choice in suitable extra-curricular reading. ''Because of the limitation, most teachers prefer to buy exam reference books for the students instead,'' Mr Ho said. Mr Man Lau-sek, Teacher Librarian at the Hongkong Professional Teachers' Union, suggested that reading be made more attractive and interesting to the students. ''Reading should be incorporated into the subjects. Encourage students to read books on related topics when they do a project,'' he advised. Ms Chui Ching-ying, a Chinese Panel teacher at Kowloon Sam Yuk Secondary School, said teachers should try to break away from the traditional book-report format and make the idea of reading more stimulating. ''For instance, I am trying out a new scheme by accompanying the children on a tour of bookshops to show them what kind of extra-curricular books are available,'' Ms Chui said.