At askST@NLB session, parents get tips on how to use news stories to help kids learn

Ms Debra Ann Francisco, a teaching specialist with The Straits Times Schools team, speaking at an askST@NLB session on Friday (Nov 17).
Ms Debra Ann Francisco, a teaching specialist with The Straits Times Schools team, speaking at an askST@NLB session on Friday (Nov 17).ST PHOTO: DESMOND WEE

SINGAPORE - Newspapers are accessible and rich teaching resources parents can tap to help their children learn during the year-end school break.

From getting the young ones to write a caption for a news photo to having them pick out the reported differences that resulted in a conflict, various newspaper sections can be used to encourage children to improve their English and their understanding of the world around them.

Even supermarket advertisements can be used to teach the young ones how to spend money wisely, said Ms Debra Ann Francisco, a teaching specialist with The Straits Times Schools team.

She was sharing tips with about 360 people - mostly parents and grandparents - at a talk on Friday evening (Nov 17).

Held at the Central Public Library in Victoria Street, the talk is the fifth in the askST @ NLB series.

"The news presents a lot of ideas and life lessons for our kids," said Ms Francisco, adding that there are many newspaper elements where children can pick up useful knowledge.

"There is nothing wrong with looking at comic strips, cartoons, advertisements, and even just headlines alone without the actual article itself," she added.

"Give your children room for choices once in a while and let those teaching moments guide you."

Madam Faith Yang, 44, said it was interesting to hear ways parents could turn various sections into English practice sessions that can be used at home.

"There are some tips which can be useful in engaging my kids," added the housewife, who has three children aged 10 to 15. "Hopefully, it can help them cultivate an interest in reading newspapers."

A teacher for 14 years before joining The Straits Times, Ms Francisco has had a hand in producing educational resources for the paper over the past five years.

She and her husband also use the news to discuss topics with their three children - two in secondary school and one in primary school.

Ms Francisco also took questions from the audience, ranging from how to get children started on the habit of reading the papers to when parents should allow their young ones to read controversial issues.

The askST @ NLB sessions are a joint effort between The Straits Times and the National Library Board.

Each session will run from 7pm to 8.30pm. Registration starts at 6pm, and the 15- to 30-minute talks will be followed by a question-and-answer segment.

On Dec 15, Straits Times senior education correspondent Sandra Davie will discuss whether a degree is needed for success in life.