Empowering kidsREAD Volunteers

Photograph - Public Libraries Standing Committee-Jane Wee





The Public Library Services of National Library Board Singapore (NLB) held a 2nd kidsREAD Symposium on 31 October 2015, attended by close to a hundred kidsREAD volunteers. The symposium is part of the kidsREAD training framework which aims to facilitate the development of our volunteers, providing them with a platform and opportunity to be exposed to a variety of perspectives, and engage experts on issues in relation to their role as kidsREAD volunteers. Topics covered in this Symposium included:
• Choosing the Right Picture Books for Children;
• Visual Literacy as a Learning Tool in Reading Picture Books;
• Reading Wordless Picture Books; and
• Exploring the Humour Genre in Children’s Literature.


The National kidsREAD programme is a nationwide reading programme in Singapore officially launched on 23 April 2004 by then Deputy Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong. kidsREAD is a collaborative effort by NLB together with the People’s Association (PA) and five self-help groups to promote the love of reading and cultivate good reading habits among young Singaporeans, specifically children from low-income families. The target audience of kidsREAD is children between the ages of 4 and 8, regardless of race or religion.  Volunteers are the lifeline of kidsREAD. They read aloud stories to children to inculcate good reading habits from young and help them discover the joy of reading. The main aim for volunteers is to get the children interested in books and to make reading a fun and enjoyable experience.


Volunteers can choose to volunteer at any of the reading clubs that have been set up island wide. The schedule is dependent on the reading club the volunteer chooses to be attached to. Some reading clubs run on weekdays and some on weekends. As at 2014, there were 254 active clubs with more than 1,500 volunteers.

To equip these volunteers for their roles, NLB constantly holds training and workshops in storytelling and reading sessions for them. Volunteer Resource Guide provides suggestions on how each session can be carried out, and best practices are being shared across the clubs and also among volunteers. As with all projects involving volunteers, sustaining volunteer involvement is one key challenge as their motivation can be easily influenced by phase of life developments, lifestyle changes and other competing interest. NLB strives on to sustain this meaning programme run by volunteers through organising annual appreciation events to appreciate our committed volunteers and learning activities such as workshops and symposiums specially organised for them.

More information on kidsREAD can be found on their website.

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