When Mum Reads, Kids Read

You would have thought that if my kids were read to every night when they were young, they would be avid readers when they grow up. I can tell you that in our family, we are living proof that this is a myth! When my little ones were one year old and fidgeting about, I would bring a book to him and try reading out loud in the most interesting way to capture his short attention. Then, I found out the best time to read quietly to babies and toddlers was when they were drinking milk. I made it a habit to read to them every night and even had to negotiate with my kids on the number of books. They love my reading even up till today. While I thought once they reached Primary 1, they should be reading a book on their own. Reading chapter books. But Primary 1 came and went, they were still not so interested in Chapter books and hardly followed a series.

Most kids around us are reading, some voraciously. Their cousins finished Harry Potter series at age 9. I was so impressed! I was getting worried about my kids who were not so interested in picking up books. Most of all, I worried for their English language. The only way to improve English is only to READ, READ and READ! No shortcuts!

I tried all sorts of methods to get them to read. Mind you, it was hard work and futile work! I printed reading charts, gave reward stickers, allowed redemption for a small gift upon reading X number of books, brought them to the library every 2 weeks, nagged at them, cajoled, encouraged, left books lying around, did book exchange, and many more. All these failed to get them to read. Sometimes, I wondered whether I was such a good story teller that my kids refused to read by themselves.

Finally, one day, I started to realize there was one common thing these avid reading kids have! They all have mums or dads who love to read! Maybe that is it! Continue reading

March – what goes on in our lives

March has a one week school holiday and we did quite many things together as a family. This monthly wrap up post is really a good way for me to check on our family activities and ensuring we have sufficient family bonding time and time for play.

Taking time off from work for the kids

During the 1 week school holidays, I took 2 days off from work to bring the kids out. On the first day, I planned a visit to the Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum together with the grandparents. We went to sing Karaoke later on. My kids love to sing, and half the singing session was for them to sing their favourite songs. Mind you, the songs they sang were adult ballads and fast numbers, not the kiddie songs. And seeing that we have still some time, we took a leisurely walk at Labrador Park and saw a Holland cruise ship which was exiting to the sea up close! How lucky we were! At dinner, we took a visit to where granny works in a childcare centre. The visit intrigued the kids as they seemed to be impressed that their grandma is still active in the workforce as an assistant teacher teaching little ones just like when they were young.

I am sure by now you know that we love to bring the grandparents and the kids out together. I can’t emphasize enough to the kids that their parents love their grandparents and we place great importance on family relationship and respect our own parents. Hence, as much as we can, we will invite the elders to join us.


On the second day, Master 9 had a playdate. We met over breakfast at Mac Donald’s, had 2 games of bowling, went for a good lunch, and visited Art Science Museum – Future World. It was a good meet up with the mummies who are pretty much Continue reading

McDonald’s Happy Meals free educational books

If you are a parent like me, who likes to first scrutinize the toy on display for McDonald’s Happy Meals before agreeing to my children’s requests to get that red box for them, then you will surely be as excited to know that now the “toy” is an educational book for children!

8 books

Starting from the week of 3 Sept at 11am, every Thursday will launch a different set of books to choose from with every purchase of a Happy Meal.

McDonald’s is always a popular restaurant for little kiddos Continue reading

How to improve your child’s Chinese

Chinese books

After I published a post on my children’s school system, an SAP school which emphasizes greatly in Chinese traditions and values and everything Chinese, many parents wrote to me to ask how I manage to engage my kids’ interest in the Chinese language. To be honest, we started off easier than most parents whose kids are struggling with this language. We are a Chinese speaking family. In this post, I am going to share with you what we do in our family and 10 tips that sees our kids enjoy through this “monster” subject that many Singaporean children hate. Continue reading

Rise and Shine Expo – 2 great workshops worth going to + Giveaway #01

Credit: Rise and Shine

Credit: Rise and Shine

In our family, we speak Chinese 90% of the time.  As a result, our kids are strong in this language that many kids here are struggling with. However, in Singapore, we have to be bilingual and are taught English and Chinese since young. English, being our teaching medium, is extremely important in getting good grades in schools. Without a good English foundation, students will struggle to understand Mathematics problem sums and tackle English comprehension questions.

Recently, my 8 year old girl is losing marks in her test papers due to her weakness in the English language.  She does not have full understanding of the questions.  It is not easy to be equally good in 2 languages and I do empathize with her.  I take a partial blame too that I do not speak much English at home. I always believe my kids can pick up English in school easily since they interact with mostly English-speaking classmates daily. I read to them since they were babies and am still reading to them.  Perhaps they are not reading enough on their own.  Despite being worried about their English standard, I have never regretted speaking Chinese primarily at home.  I take pride that their Chinese is strong as Chinese is indeed a very difficult language to master. It is important to speak well since it is our Mother Tongue.

So, when I knew about a workshop where the famous speaker Dr Thomas Armstrong is going to share tips on teaching everything from phonics to reading comprehension using brain strategies, I was curious to find out if there are ways for me to help my girl with her comprehension skills. This workshop is held in conjunction with the Rise and Shine Expo which will span across 3 days of exciting kids’ activities, premium brands and workshops for parents from 27-29 Sept 2013. This speaker is an award winning author of “Nurturing Multiple Intelligences in Children”. I have extracted some details to this workshop here:

Workshop with Dr. Thomas Armstrong: The multiple intelligences of reading and writing: making the words come alive!

This workshop will show parents how to help children develop literacy skills by linking words to images, music, logic, emotions, physical expression, social context, oral language, and nature.  Dr. Armstrong draws upon recent neuropsychological research in showing how reading and writing skills are whole brain activities, and he provides practical tips and suggestions for teaching everything from phonics to reading comprehension using whole brain strategies.

This workshop is for parents with children from 3 to 12 years old who want to lay strong foundation in their kids in reading and writing using the concept of multiple intelligences.

Dr Thomas Armstrong
Award Winning Author and Advocator of Nurturing Multiple Intelligences in Children

Dr Thomas Armstrong is the author of fifteen books including Multiple Intelligences in the ClassroomIn Their Own Way, Awakening Your Child’s Natural Genius7 Kinds of Smart,The Myth of the A.D.D. Child and Awakening Genius in the Classroom. His books have been translated into twenty-six languages. He has appeared on several national and international television and radio programs, including NBC’s ”The Today Show”, “CBS This Morning”“CNN”, the “BBC” and “The Voice of America”. Articles featuring his work have appeared in The New York Timesthe Washington PostUSA TodayInvestor’s Business DailyGood Housekeeping, and hundreds of other newspapers and magazines around the country.

Date: Sat, 28 Sept
Time: 2.30pm – 4pm
Venue: Room 305, Suntec Convention Hall

To register for the workshop, please click here.

Price: $20

Early bird discount by 2 Sept: 10% off
Group booking: 3 or more in a group enjoy 50% off
PAssion Card holders: 1 for 1 signup (partner attends for free)

For more details on this Rise and Shine Expo, click here.

I would encourage those parents who are keen to help on their children’s language development to attend this workshop.

Being a Rise and Shine partner blogger, I am entitled to give away 5 pairs of tickets (worth $20 for each ticket) to my readers for this workshop. If you are interested to know how this workshop can benefit the reading and writing skills of your child, please do the following:

1) Like Kids R Simple and Rise and Shine facebook fan pages

2) Leave a comment below with your email address or on Kids R Simple facebook page (If you are not comfortable with leaving your email address, please message me via facebook)

3) The closing date for enrolment of giveaway is on 6 Sept 2013.

Good luck!

This is the first part of the Rise and Shine Expo Giveaways.

Stay tune for the second giveaway…