We go behind the scenes of the Kids’ Lit Quiz 2016 to find out who is the woman behind the success of one of the proud winners.
Earlier this year, four girls from Methodist Girls’ School clinched their victory at the POSB-NLB Kids’ Lit Quiz 2016. Following their win, they will be representing Singapore in the Kids’ Lit Quiz Word Finals in Auckland, New Zealand, in August. The Kids’ Lit Quiz is an annual literature competition for children aged 10 to 13. Participants will have to compete in a few buzzer rounds to answer questions from across all genres with speed and accuracy. The winners have presented their knowledge and speed in the field of literature after months of intense preparation and they continued showing their love for reading as they walk into the finals. We spoke to Janise Lee Wai Ling, mother of one of the lit champs, Hua Xuan Ying, to understand what’s going on behind the scenes.
1. How do you feel about your daughter winning the Kids’ Lit Quiz?
I thank God that the girls were given the opportunity to represent Singapore in the World Finals in Auckland. I am happy that their love for reading and literature has been rewarded. Winning the National Finals would not have been possible without her teammates. They supported each other and it was a total group effort.
2. At what age did she start to enjoy reading? How did you help to cultivate reading in your child since young?
At the age of 5, we started using audiobooks for children, especially the classics such as The Wizard of Oz, Alice in Wonderland and Charlotte’s Web. We borrowed the audiobooks from NLB and usually listened to them when we were on the road. The narrator’s portrayal of the characters and the expressive intonations drew Xuan Ying’s attention to the stories and helped to build her listening skills. As English is not my first language, audiobooks were very good in exposing my child to proper pronunciation and books beyond her reading stage.
Xuan Ying has a scheduled time to read every evening with no electronic distractions. To provide a conducive environment for quiet reading, we set up a special reading corner with a mini Louis IV armchair.
The Extensive Reading Programme (ERP) in the Gifted Education Program (GEP) provided her with a comprehensive reading list during the upper primary years. Many books on the reading list were award-winning novels and she really enjoyed reading them.
3. How do you support your child in this competition?
As the competition date draws nearer, we try to keep to her daily routine to help her stay calm and relaxed. We encourage Xuan Ying to try her best, keep her faith and continue to believe in herself.
4. What are the benefits of literature that you would like to share with other parents so that they can encourage their children to take interest in reading and literature?
There is a strong tie between literature, thinking skills and language ability.
5. Taking part in a competition is not easy. What are the difficulties that your child and your family face during this period?
There is no reading list for the Kids Lit quiz, so she needs to read extensively. Given the time constraints and CCA demands that secondary school pupils are facing, it can be difficult to find enough time to read.
6. How does participating in the competition help your child to grow as a person and her attitude towards winning?
The Kids’ Lit Quiz motivates my child to read widely, from classics to contemporary literature, and helps to hone her reading skills. She is learning the importance of teamwork and how to contribute as a team player. Xuan Ying wants to win the completion wholeheartedly. As parents, we encourage her and we are proud of her regardless of the outcome.
7. How do you define success?
Success means becoming a responsible and independent individual that can make a positive difference to the community.
8. What are some life lessons you’ve learnt from your child?
Learning never stops, we can always better ourselves. Together with my daughter, I am re-learning many things that I have forgotten.
Read more about our interview with another lit champ’s mum in our Sept/Oct issue of Parents World.