World Read Aloud Day! 16 Feb 2017

Today marks this year’s World Read Aloud Day. This Day is created by LitWorld (http://www.litworld.org/worldreadaloudday).  It is an invitation to the world to join in the wonderful act of Reading Aloud. Spreading kindness and positive social changes around us can be done through a simple act of reading aloud, at the workplace, in school, or at home.

World Read Aloud DayNeither my husband (DeeDee) nor myself (MeeMee) reads often. I am a slow reader, and I struggle to finish a book. Any book. We have heard that reading is good for children and we (me, mostly) do read aloud to our children (GerGer and BoiBoy). However, due to our busy work schedules, we could not do it regularly. I feel guilty about this all the time.

GerGer could read a storybook by herself when she turned seven, in June two years ago. She excelled in her phonics lessons during her Kindergarten days.

BoiBoy was different. He could not grasp the sounds and blends taught in phonics lessons. I got worried and throughout his Kindergarten Year 2, I gave him extra revision on phonics. I had to learn phonics myself in order to coach him (*giving my own shoulders a pat for the hard work*). It has not been a smooth sailing journey, but we survived the year. When he started Primary One, he was only six years and two months old. He could only read simple books with a couple of sentences on each page. He struggled with sounding out words. My eyebrows could not be straightened, and my heart stirred, every time he read.

I attended talks from their Primary School on reading, and I sought help from teachers.  Nothing improved, except my listening skills.  Well, jokes aside, I did learn that reading should be for life. It should not be for the next English Exam, nor should it be for the sole purpose of improving his language. I should be focusing on getting him to enjoy reading, for the sake of getting to know interesting stories, or learning about an insect, or a new joke.  So my new goal was to get him to initiate reading.  The only way to do that, was to continue reading aloud to my children.  I should still be reading aloud to GerGer too, even though she can read now.  Reading aloud lets the children get to know a story in a very fun and relaxed way.

This year, I signed up as a kidsREAD volunteer.

The National kidsREAD programme (kidsREAD in short) is a nationwide reading programme officially launched on 23 April 2004 by then Deputy Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong. kidsREAD is a collaborative effort by the National Library Board (NLB) together with the People’s Association (PA) and five self-help groups to promote the love of reading and cultivate good reading habits among young Singaporeans, specifically children from low-income families. The target audience of kidsREAD is children between the ages of 4 and 8, regardless of race or religion. More on kidsREAD at this link http://www.nlb.gov.sg/kidsread/.

Although we read aloud to children and hope to spread the joy of reading to them. I think I am the biggest beneficiary through the process.  My story to read to the children is “The Dot, by Peter H. Reynolds”.  I never read this story before. When I first read it, I found the message behind this simple story so strong and touching that I did a google search on it.

I was surprised to find out that we have International Dot Day (http://www.thedotclub.org/dotday/) on 15th September each year!  It is a global celebration of creativity, courage and collaboration, which began when teacher Terry Shay introduced his classroom to Peter H. Reynolds’ book The Dot on September 15, 2009.

I urge all everyone to read the book and get inspired!  After that, please read the book aloud to anyone!

Happy World Read Aloud Day to everyone!

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