Tuesday, May 28, 2013


"The greatest gift is a passion for reading."
~ Elizabeth Hardwick

Recently, my 6 year-old daughter was selected by her school to be part of a small performance at the Asian Festival Of Children's Content.  Truthfully, I was not aware of her participation until I got a call from the teacher to remind me that she has to be present as she was one of those selected by her phonics enrichment teacher....(well that's me!...consent form is always signed after receiving a reminder call from the teacher!!).

So the day came and we brought her to the National Library where the performance was held.  Her school was representing the enrichment centre's launch of a Malay language programme ('Fonik Ria' by Mini Monsters).  The 10 children selected was supposed to be there an hour earlier for a short rehearsal. 

Whilst waiting, the afternoon programme started with an introduction by a guest speaker, Vivian Kirkfield, who is a Blogger, Educator & Author of a few children's literacy materials.  At first I didn't think much of her presentation (due to some technical hiccups - her voice was not audible because of the noise pollution at the atrium and the PowerPoint was not working effectively at the beginning...). 

source: Asian Festival Of Children's Content, NLB

Not until a few minutes down the road was when I realised how significant her message was  - 'reading picture books with children is one of the most important tasks of parenthood!'.  Granted that most parents would have heard this time and time again, but her 15 minute presentation was insightful for me as it refreshes my memory on the importance of cultivating the love for reading.  Basically it jolted my conscience which at times (ok... at MOST times!) have resulted in neglecting reading with the kids AND with myself too....booohooo!)

Vivian's pointers were basics and the key message was that reading helps to build self-esteem for the little ones.  She recommended simple techniques of reading with the child such as investing a small amount of time aside to read with him/her.  Most importantly, she also suggested that after reading, to follow through with a simple activity to reinforce the learning such as doing art & craft with the child. 

"Children are made readers on the laps of their parents."
~ Emilie Buchwald

Like I said earlier, most of us would already know this.  But the thing that triggered my conscience during Vivian's presentation was the fact that I was trained to do this!  This was one of the curriculum topics on teaching English for lower primary!  I recalled each week we were given children's story books to read and focus on.  It always got very interesting when we were asked to role play and develop extension activities for the particular story that was the focus for the week.  It was FUN and back then, I would always imagine how enjoyable it would be for the kids when such activities were incorporated into the reading programme. (I've never had such exposure when I was young unfortunately... ) Vivian recommended a few books and one of them was 'Where The Wild Things Are' by Maurice Sendak, and THIS was one of the books that we had to do in our review session!  Till today I still enjoy reading this book and I've read this to all my 3 children countless times! :)  Vivian's presentation resurrect my inspiration and energy once again to be a good story teller to my children.

Afterwards, I could not wait to see what was in store for my daughter's performance.  The little ones got up on stage and after a brief introduction, they began singing a very catchy Malay nursery rhyme.  Following that, the writer of the Fonik Ria book series called out her name and did a mini interview - asking her if she reads at home.  Then the surprising moment came (for me!).....she was asked to pick one of two books to read and she started reading the book page by page!  Oh WOW!! This was such a sight and a sentimental cum emotional one for me because up to 6 months ago, she could not read a complete story book on her own yet!  And now...she's not only reading by herself BUT in front of a public audience too!  So it was a really WOW moment there! :-)

I feel truly blessed to be able to witness yet again another milestone for my children.  Since that day, I'm now inspired to revive my love of reading (I know I need to buck up in this excuses!) and hope to be able to continue to be a book lover advocate for my children too.

Are you a book lover too?  Do you get inspired and energised through a simple passion in reading?  Share your inspiration if you are an avid bookworm...

"A picture book is worth a thousand words"
~ Vivian Kirkfield


  1. i regret not strting the habit of reading when my son was younger. I find it difficult not to make him sit through even two pages of a book.

    I am panicking just reading your thoughts...

    1. It's never too late to start Wendy :) Perhaps you have to experiment on when is the best time for him (before bedtime, during mealtime, etc). Now that he's bigger, get him to select his own book just to arouse his interest...