Making reading a compulsory subject is a good start

I strongly support making reading a compulsory subject in the primary school curriculum ("Why reading should be a compulsory subject in school"; May 25).

A compulsory subject need not necessarily mean examinations. Instead, students can be evaluated using group projects or their progress throughout the year.

At a Pre-University Seminar 2016 panel discussion, Mr Ang Thiam Hock, co-founder of Gift of Development (which offers help to at-risk children), emphasised the importance of reading and how improving reading skills can help pupils in core Primary School Leaving Examination subjects.

I totally agree with his opinion, as reading can indeed help us better analyse and understand long questions during exams.

The reading culture in Singapore is weakening, but we have also seen many initiatives trying to promote it, such as the upcoming "mobile library" on trains.

Once reading becomes a habit for us all, we should not worry that we do not continue reading in future.

The key is in making reading lessons enjoyable, interactive and to the point, so that children can view reading as another passionate thing to do.

Some schools already have a reading programme, where students read before or after morning assembly.

Since primary school children are at the early stage of their education journey, teachers have to first inculcate a love for reading and later, spur pupils to take charge of their own reading routine, be it twice a week or weekly.

If Singaporeans really want to see our future generation develop the habit of reading, it is crucial that we start trying to do something instead of continually waiting for things to be done.

Making reading a compulsory subject should be one of the many initiatives, and it is just the first step in getting more Singaporeans to love reading.

Jong Ching Yee (Miss)

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 02, 2016, with the headline 'Making reading a compulsory subject is a good start'. Print Edition | Subscribe