Last weekend, we launched the Amazon Singapore Books Pop Up @ Punggol Regional Library, a temporary reading space filled with more than 500 children’s books that was created in collaboration with the National Library Board (NLB).
Books have been at the heart of Amazon since we started as an online bookstore in 1995, and we know that making books accessible to everyone is the first step to fostering a passion for reading.
The event was attended by guest-of-honour Dr Janil Puthucheary, Senior Minister of State for Communications and Information, and Health. In his remarks, he noted that while Singapore children had topped a global reading literacy ranking for the first time earlier this year, the study also showed that they didn’t read for enjoyment.
"Getting young people to love reading is essential."
“Getting young people to love reading is essential,” Dr Janil said. “Initiatives such as Amazon’s pop-up collaboration with the National Library Board improve community engagement and make an impact.”
During the event, Dr Janil also conducted a storytelling session, where he read the children’s title The Trampolines that Nadia Built, by Darren C. Ong, to 30 children from NLB’s KidsRead programme and Amazon’s non-profit organisation partners, Children’s Wishing Well, Club Rainbow, Fei Yue Family Service Centre, and Glyph Community. The NLB-recommended title is about how a little girl tries to invent a suitable trampoline to help her jump high enough to reach the moon.
Looking to instil a love for reading in your child? Dr Janil shares three tips on how he helped to build a lifelong reading habit among his sons.
#1 Keep experimenting
“As a parent, I have been through this three times now with my three boys. You have to experiment to see what each kid likes. And that is why a library is very important—you can try a book and see what it is that makes their eyes light up, or holds their attention. Then you know this works, and you can persist with it. Then after a while, try something new.”
#2 Stretch your child’s capabilities
“I remember receiving a compendium of science fiction for one birthday from an aunt of mine, which was a little bit too challenging for my age. There were stories in there which I found easy, and stories which I found difficult. I think it was trying to work out what was happening in the difficult stories that really got me going in terms of science and science fiction. A lesson learnt that sometimes, you have to push the child to take something slightly challenging for them. That is an important part of reading.”
#3 Repetition isn’t a bad thing
“Young kids, they like repetition. If you find yourself reading the same book for the 100th time, that’s a good thing. That’s how little kids learn how the story works, how language works, how the words work. As a parent, sometimes you may feel it’s very repetitive, but you are doing a very good job.”