Parents living in the South West District will have more opportunities to bond with their children through reading, while helping them to brush up on their mother tongue.
A programme called Reading Together@South West, which will see library corners set up at 17 Residents' Committee (RC) centres around the district, was launched yesterday at Bukit Gombak Goodview Garden RC Centre.
They will have about 3,500 bilingual books curated by the Lee Kuan Yew Fund for Bilingualism, which is partnering the South West Community Development Council (CDC) for the initiative.
Education Minister (Schools) Ng Chee Meng, who launched it yesterday, said bilingualism has been an asset for Singaporeans in the past 50 years, and the opportunity to learn two languages provides a competitive advantage.
Mr Ng said that parents have a "crucial role" to play in encouraging their children to use their mother tongue daily. "This way, it becomes a living language, as part of their daily lives, and not just a subject in school to be aced."
South West CDC Mayor Low Yen Ling said: "We hope (parents) will take advantage of the convenient access provided by the RCs. "They can tap the rich teaching resources at hand to nurture a love for the mother tongue in their children."
The new RC reading corners will also be used for monthly storytelling sessions and other culturally based family activities, which will be organised in conjunction with festive occasions, such as Chinese New Year, Hari Raya, Deepavali and National Day.
Housewife Juliana Mohamad, 37, who visited the corner already set up at the Bukit Gombak Goodview Garden RC Centre with her son, 11, and her daughter, five, said: "I used to have to visit the library to borrow books for my children to read.
"With the reading corner now so close to home, I am able to come with my children every week and it's a lot more convenient for me."