A LOVE FOR READING
Despite topping the charts, fewer students reported enjoying reading over the years, the study also found.
The proportion of students who reported “enjoying reading a lot” fell to 51 per cent, compared with 55 per cent in 2016 and 60 per cent in 2011.
The proportion of students whose parents reported “enjoying reading a lot” also dropped to 48 per cent in 2021. It was 53 per cent in 2016 and 60 per cent in 2011.
“These observations are not unique to Singapore, and the decline in reading enjoyment may in part be driven by the rapid proliferation of other forms of entertainment and content formats (for example, social media) over the last decade,” said MOE.
At Casuarina Primary School, Primary 1 and 2 students read digital books on a platform – with the audio, or out loud and can record themselves doing so.
“The digital books are accessible from home and allow for collaboration. From our observations, the digital books excite and enthuse our students to read more,” said vice-principal Steven Wong.
“Nothing beats the sensation of touching a physical book,” he added. This is why sets of physical books are rotated across the Primary 1 and 2 classes as part of the school’s structured reading programme.
The interconnected world makes English proficiency even more necessary, said Mr Wong.
“Our understanding of literacy and linguistic skills in English has been shaped in recent years due to the rapid development in information technology. Ultimately, in this digital era, we aim to nurture not just proficient but discerning readers as well, those who possess broad worldviews by staying abreast of current events and are self-directed in the use of information,” he added.
Xishan Primary School tries to nurture and build a love for reading in students, which is “more than just building strong fundamentals and literacy”, said vice-principal Latha Sinasamy.
“In today’s digital era, I think what’s important is that students must be able to engage with texts that are multimodal in nature, that means more than just the print,” she added.
“We already know that the children are exposed to websites and information online, and this helps them to become more literate in terms of their digital literacy or media literacy skills, so that’s something that we’re trying to cultivate as well.”
For example, in the applied learning programme, students are introduced to the concept of fake news, and how to identify what information is relevant or not relevant.
“Considering that they’re younger learners, I think we try to give it to them in bite sizes,” said Ms Sinasamy.
“But it’s critical that we start from young, because by the time they pass primary school, they’ll be exposed to this more readily.”