Community Learning: An Evaluation of the KidsREAD Programme in Singapore
In Singapore about 20% of families are considered to be socio-economically disadvantaged. Children from these families have been identified as having reading difficulties when they enter primary school. Recognizing that children from these families have limited access to reading materials, the National Library Board, in partnership with local community clubs and family service centres, has established the KidsREAD literacy programme where volunteers, mostly university and college students, help children between 4 and 8 years of age overcome some of their reading problems. The KidsREAD clubs aim to “promote the love of reading and cultivate good reading habits among all young Singaporeans, in particular children from low-income families” (National Library Board, 2005). This paper presents an evaluation of the KidsREAD clubs with regard to children’s attitudes towards reading. It explores the differences in children’s reading attitudes at the beginning of the programme and half way through the programme. The study was carried out in three representative clubs. This paper evaluates the attitudes of 65 children towards the clubs and the activities conducted at the clubs. It outlines the children’s beliefs about reading and the extent to which they value reading. It further explores how much KIdsREAD clubs have influenced their attitudes towards reading in general and their enjoyment of reading in particular.
Keywords: Literacy, Reading Attitudes, Reading Enjoyment, Socio-Economically Disadvantaged Children
Dr. Xiao Lan Curdt-Christiansen
Assistant professor, English Language and Literature Academic Group, National Institute of Education