New reading movement aims to bring books to people
To encourage more adults to pick up reading, the new National Reading Movement, to be launched this year, will bring books to people in places such as their offices and when they are on the move.
SINGAPORE — To encourage more adults to pick up reading, the new National Reading Movement, to be launched this year, will bring books to people in places such as their offices and when they are on the move.
Laying out plans during the debate on his ministry’s budget, Minister for Communications and Information Yaacob Ibrahim said on Monday (April 11) that a library-themed MRT train would be launched later this year, where commuters can scan a QR code printed in the carriage to download ebooks or short essays they can read during the ride.
“While many adults visit our libraries, we often see them borrowing books for their children, more so than for themselves. We want to help adults rediscover the joy of reading for themselves so as to be role models for their children,” said Dr Yaacob.
The National Library Board (NLB) will also start a new Read@Work initiative that will tailor content to the companies that sign up. For instance, the NLB could curate reads on common management topics, industry trends that are useful for work, or just short fiction for leisure reading. Some of the partner organisations that have signed up for this initiative include DBS and NTUC U Associate.
Dr Yaacob also said the NLB will try to get more seniors to read “to keep their minds healthy and alert, as they stay abreast of current affairs and learn new things”.
The NLB will take a similar approach of bringing books to the elderly, such as by starting book clubs and setting up more reading corners in community-owned centres and doubling outreach to Senior Activity Centres by 2020. Reading programmes that cater to the interests and needs of seniors, such as do-it-yourself craft groups and writing workshops, will also be expanded.
Dr Yaacob said a second priority of the National Reading Movement is to place greater emphasis on reading in Mother Tongue languages, through doubling the number of Mother Tongue language reading clubs to 10 this year, as well as growing the Mother Tongue language collections in libraries.
“Reading is a gateway to culture and reading in one’s Mother Tongue cultivates an understanding of languages, culture and history. Reading widely in more than one language also helps build a strong foundation for bilingual literacy in children, as stories are a fun way to ignite children’s love for the language,” he added.
In June and July, the NLB will launch a campaign to get as many people as possible to pledge to read, including organisations and educational institutions. So far, DBS, Temasek Polytechnic, UniSIM and the Association of Small and Medium Enterprises have pledged their support.
Dr Yaacob said the pledging campaign will end with an inaugural National Reading Day on July 30.
He said: “On that day, we hope to see everyone reading, be it in groups or otherwise. We hope to focus the nation’s attention on reading, and to encourage busy Singaporeans to set aside time to read.” He added that the NLB will be conducting a nationwide survey on Singaporeans’ reading habits this year to fine-tune its plans to promote reading and learning.
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