Celebrating 10 Years of Helping Children from Less-Privileged Families to Develop a Love for Reading

Singapore, 4 October 2014 – Over the last 10 years, the National Library Board’s (NLB) kidsREAD programme has been helping children from less-privileged families to develop good reading habits. kidsREAD is a nationwide volunteer-run reading programme for young children, aged four to eight.

Starting January 2015, children from families with a gross household income of up to $6,000 a month will be eligible to join the reading programme. This is an increase from the present gross household income limit of up to $3,500 a month. By aligning it to the Ministry of Social and Family Development’s criteria for the enhanced Kindergarten Financial Assistance Scheme (KiFAS), more children will be able to benefit from the kidsREAD programme.

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong celebrated kidsREAD’s 10th anniversary with some 200 guests, including children and volunteers from the programme, today in Ang Mo Kio Public Library. He had officiated kidsREAD’s inauguration back in 2004.

Reading at a young age builds a strong foundation in children’s creativity, critical thinking, lifelong learning and skills development. Since its inception, kidsREAD has reached out to more than 27,000 children. Teachers have observed that children who have participated in kidsREAD had improved language skills, and were better at articulating their thoughts confidently in school. To nurture and sustain the reading habit of young children from pre-school into their early primary school years, NLB expanded the kidsREAD curriculum from one to five years in 2013.

Mrs Elaine Ng, Chief Executive Officer, National Library Board said, “Our wonderful volunteers show children that reading is fun, and books are companions in learning. Over the last ten years, the stories they read at the kidsREAD clubs have lit up the lives of many children. In our next ten years, we look forward to having more volunteers, more kidsREAD clubs, and more children discovering the love of reading.”

At the kidsREAD anniversary, the 10 longest-serving volunteers and representatives of the 10 longest-running kidsREAD clubs were honoured for their dedication in bringing the joys of reading to the children. (See Annex A) Currently, there are more than 1,300 volunteers helping out at the 184 kidsREAD clubs. They include seniors, young professionals, youths and students from secondary schools and junior colleges.

kidsREAD is strongly supported by various partners, including the Tote Board; People’s Association; the Embassy of the United States, Singapore; International School of Singapore; Ngee Ann Polytechnic; Ministry of Education; and the five self-help groups: Association of Muslim Professionals (AMP), Chinese Development Assistance Council (CDAC), Eurasian Association; Yayasan MENDAKI; and Singapore Indian Development Association (SINDA).

NLB welcomes the public and organisations to join the cause by volunteering, sponsoring or starting their own kidsREAD club. Details are available on http://www.kidsread.sg/