Schools getting kids to read more
Some teachers dress up, some classes go on field trips
Ding Khye Rong,a pupil at Farrer Park Primary School, used to dislike reading novels. He felt books were boring and preferred comics.
However, after going through Farrer Park Primary's creative reading programmes, the 11-year-old now loves to read.
Khye Rong told The New Paper: "I realised that the characters are better developed in a novel, compared with comics. I also discovered I like to read books about friendship and school life."
To get children hooked on books from a young age, primary schools are experimenting with different techniques.
In the National Library Board's 2016 national reading habits survey among teenagers, 32 per cent of teens read books more than once a week, and 91 per cent of them said they read at least one book in the past year.
Head of Farrer Park Primary's English department, Ms Faith Huang, said: "We find students to be reading less these days. The school has to implement more exciting programmes to promote reading."
One of these is the weekly Book Club, piloted in 2016. It is a 10-week programme that ends in a party where the pupils dress as characters from books.
Some books they read were The Lemonade War by Jacqueline Davies, Charlotte's Web by E. B. White and The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman.
The school also has drama lessons, where the teacher does not just read aloud to the pupils but comes into class in costume and in character.
Ms Huang said: "During the interaction, students also take on roles as different characters in the story. For example, in The Hungry Giant, the students took on the roles of the villagers who were bullied by the giant in the story."
At Bedok Green Primary School, pupils get to see what they read come alive. They went to Jurong Bird Park after reading about owls.
Each class also has a library curated according to the pupils' learning abilities. These efforts have paid off.
Its principal, Mrs Celine Ng, said: "Last year, a record number of books were borrowed during the Books 2 Go sessions (a collaborative effort with the National Library Board), and according to the district librarian, this number is the highest among the schools in the district."