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"Nurturing Readers" Forum for Parents

Singapore, 08 November 2004 Einstein enjoyed reading and by the age of 12, he was already reading books on physics. What role did reading play in his early years? An actual slide image and expert analysis of Einstein's brain at an upcoming forum for parents will show that extensive reading contributed significantly to his brain development which led to his genius for creativity and higher level thinking.

To be held in conjunction with the Asian Children's Festival 2004, this inaugural three-hour forum, “Nurturing Readers”, on 20 November from 2.00pm to 5.00pm at the Singapore Expo aims to reach out to parents and caregivers of primary school-aged children with the key message that reading is one of the most important habits to cultivate in a child and that the joy of reading should be nurtured from young.

Sponsored by the Press Foundation of Singapore and jointly-presented in partnership with the National Library Board, the Forum’s opening address will be delivered by the Editor-in-Chief of Singapore Press Holdings' English and Malay Newspapers Division, Mr Cheong Yip Seng.

Participants at the Forum will gain valuable insights and helpful tips from a panel of three specially-invited experts who will speak on the cognitive developmental needs of children, the essential role of reading as a learning tool, why and how newspapers are not only an excellent source of reading material but also provide rich opportunities for motivating reading, developing thinking skills, and enhancing language enrichment, and how to select suitable reads for different children.

Anchoring the Forum with the topic "The Curiosity Tree" will be Ms Bernadette Tynan, former Senior Lecturer at the Research Centre for Able Children in Oxford, President of Education-Guru Ltd, Founder and President of the children’s charity, Beautiful Minds, and author of the international best-seller "Your Child Can Think Like A Genius". Based upon 15 years of research, including work with the Einstein archives, Bernadette’s presentation will illustrate the importance of reading in Einstein and Da Vinci’s youth and show how reading develops higher level thinking, and exceptional connectivity in the brain – which in turn leads to innovative thinking and creativity. She will give simple yet useful tips to the audience for helping children see the direct benefits of reading in their creative thought and development.

Ms Shamini Dias, educational consultant with the Society for Reading and Literacy, and researcher and writer will speak on using newspapers to empower reading and thinking. Approaching the topic from the context of learning, and examining parental goals in preparing their children for the future, Shamini will show how newspapers, as a practical and powerful family life enrichment tool, a rich resource for linguistic development, and a powerful focal point for cultivating critical thinking skills, and creating a sense of self and community awareness, can address some of these goals. To equip Forum participants with a solid set of ideas to take home, she will offer practical suggestions on how to actively share newspaper content with children, including ideas for art and scrapbook projects, family boards, and internet-based extension of news stories.

The third speaker, Ms Fauziah Hassan Mohamed, Senior Librarian with the National Library Board's Children's Library Services, will focus her talk towards helping parents gain a better understanding of how a child's reading level affects his choice of books. She will teach parents how to identify the different levels of readers and discuss factors that influence their attitude and aptitude towards books and reading. Fauziah will also point parents to suitable reads in order for them to pitch it right to their children with the right book at the right time.

Mrs Sng Ngoi May, General Manager of the Press Foundation of Singapore, said young people are reading less these days, be it books, magazines or newspapers, because of distraction from other sources such as television, radio, cable networks, internet, videos, gaming devices and mobile phones.

“This is a pity because reading broadens the mind and stimulates thinking. Reading newspapers, for example, help us make connections with the real world and with the communities in which we live, keeping us up-to-date and in touch with events that impact and shape our lives. Together with other wholesome reading media, they are an important tool in making our young lifelong learners."

Added Ms Tay Ai Cheng, Senior Director, Library Management & Operations Group at the National Library Board, "We are pleased to partner the Press Foundation of Singapore in organising this forum which is very much in synergy with our common objectives of fostering a reading culture in our society and to expand the learning capacity of the nation.”

"Through this event, we hope to share with parents ways to unlock the wealth of knowledge in books and gems of information in newspapers and in so doing, encourage them to introduce the joy of reading to their children from young and make them readers for life."

"Nurturing Readers" has been scheduled to coincide with the four-day Asian Children's Expo, a key element of the Asian Children's Festival, that runs from 18 to 21 November also at the Singapore Expo. The Asian Children’s Expo programme line-up includes creative arts demonstrations and workshops, interactive strolling actors, storytelling, pottery classes, and Asian cultural costumes and art appreciation. These activities will keep the children happily engaged while their parents attend the Forum.

At a registration fee of only $10 per participant for those who sign up by 10 November and $15 thereafter, the event is expected to receive enthusiastic response. Limited to only 220 participants, those who are interested to attend may contact Christine Khoo at 6587 7125 or 6587 7134 or email her at christine@singex.com.sg. Registration form and more information about the forum can also be found at website
www.asianchildrenfest.com/nurturing.htm.

This Forum is the third initiative by the Press Foundation of Singapore as part of its efforts to help build a lifelong learning community in Singapore and to promote the appreciation of newspaper reading. The Foundation organised a Teachers Conference on the Use of Newspapers in Teaching and Learning in November 2003 and a series of Fun With Newspapers Adventure Camps for students in March and June this year.

For more information, please contact:

Eric Ching
Press Foundation of Singapore Limited
Tel: 6319-1280
Email: chingsm@sph.com.sg

Cassandra Tay
National Library Board
Tel: 63323608
Email: cassandra_tay@nlb.gov.sg

About Press Foundation of Singapore
The Press Foundation of Singapore, a registered charity and an Institution of Public Character, was set up in January 2003 to help build a lifelong learning community that embraces language enrichment, creativity, diversity, healthy living and sports. The first contribution of S$20 million to the Foundation came from media group Singapore Press Holdings Ltd. For more information about the Foundation, please visit the website at www.pressfoundation.org.sg.

About National Library Board
The National Library Board (NLB) was established on 1 September 1995 with the mission to continuously expand the learning capacity of the nation. NLB oversees the management of the National Library, three regional libraries, 18 community libraries, 18 community children's libraries, as well as libraries belonging to government agencies, schools and private institutions. Its digital library, eLibraryHub, provides patrons access to information resources and services any time, anywhere. Through its innovative use of technology and its collaboration with strategic partners, the NLB ensure that library users have access to a rich array of information services and resources that are convenient, accessible and useful. More information on NLB can be found on www.nlb.gov.sg.

About Asian Children’s Festival
An annual festival incepted in the year 2001, the Asian Children's Festival aspires to connect people and institutions related to children in the literary, publishing, library, book information and the creative world of arts. This is done in the hope that the professionals will network, share, learn, research, write and develop Asian contents, products and services that meet the child's educational, creative and emotional needs. This range of services and products will subtly promote a deeper understanding of the Asian way of life.

The ACF is an annual dedication to the growth, development and happiness of children. It will continue to feature an exquisite forum of internationally renowned and celebrated children's storytellers, writers, puppeteers, children's librarians and child prodigies.

The Asian Children's Festival brings together the best of Asian contents, services and products for children and parents, providing them a multicultural experience and exposure to the richness of Asian culture and tradition. It is an extraordinary celebration of children that deserves support from the community, especially parents and professionals working with the young, to help fulfill their dreams and aspirations.

For more information, visit www.asianchildrenfest.com.

 

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