Making mother tongue come alive for their children

Ms Irene Chia and her sons Yiyang (far left) and Ruikai (left) reading Chinese books at home. Ms Far'ain Jaafar reading Malay books with her son Khalief Syafiq and daughter Nuhyah Syafiq to build the children's fluency in their mother tongue.
Ms Far'ain Jaafar reading Malay books with her son Khalief Syafiq and daughter Nuhyah Syafiq to build the children's fluency in their mother tongue.ST PHOTO: MARK CHEONG
Ms Irene Chia and her sons Yiyang (far left) and Ruikai (left) reading Chinese books at home. Ms Far'ain Jaafar reading Malay books with her son Khalief Syafiq and daughter Nuhyah Syafiq to build the children's fluency in their mother tongue.
Ms Irene Chia and her sons Yiyang (left) and Ruikai (right) reading Chinese books at home.ST PHOTO: DESMOND FOO

When Ms May Lau's three children were in pre-school, she invested in a few different collections of Chinese storybooks to nurture their love of reading in their mother tongue. The books included the I Can Read series and Journey To The West comics.

Ms Lau, a 43-year-old marketing director, speaks only Mandarin to her children, though she says they answer in English 90 per cent of the time.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 17, 2021, with the headline 'Making mother tongue come alive for their children'. Subscribe