Promote reading but tuition also has a place

The article, "Out with tuition and in with a reading nation" (July 29), supports leisure reading as a habit which should be cultivated in children.

I fully agree with this, as my siblings, nephew and I have benefited from voracious reading throughout our school days.

For us, the main advantage from this has been the ability to communicate well in the language in which we read.

However, I disagree with the article's argument that reading should replace tuition.

In particular, the statement "non-readers lag behind academically, handicapped by

poor reading comprehension in all subjects, from maths to science" is based on research by professors Susan Neuman and Donna Celano, but a closer look at their study shows that these researchers are describing the performance of children who cannot, or can hardly, read - not children who can read but do not have the reading habit.

Furthermore, subjects such as physics and mathematics require more than just "reading" comprehension to solve problems.

For children in Singapore who have no literacy problem but have difficulties with figures and logical deductions from theories and theorems, tuition would provide extra coaching, saving them from hours of despair over unintelligible homework.

Reading for pleasure and tuition for those weak in science or maths do not have to be mutually exclusive. One can encourage youngsters to spend more time on reading and less on tuition.

Amy Loh Chee Seen (Ms)

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 10, 2015, with the headline 'Promote reading but tuition also has a place'. Print Edition | Subscribe