Before my stepson Hemen came to Singapore last year, he was studying in a Tamil school where English is taught a bit less. I’m Singaporean but my wife and her children are Malaysians. I told him that “the Singapore education system is totally different from what you are used to, you have to catch up fast”. When he took the placement test to enter primary school, they put him in P2 instead of P4 because they found that his English is not that good. The school recommended that he enter the Steady Readers programme. I asked Hemen if he wants to enrol and he said “Yes, I’m willing to go, I want to improve”.
Hemen has been in the programme for about nine months and already I am seeing a great improvement. He’s still very shy to speak, but his homework is improving, his English spelling has improved a lot. Last time he will bring his homework back, then he’s very scared to show me the homework. But now he can do it by himself in school. I ask him, “Are you sure you finished the homework? Did you read everything properly?” He will say, “Pa, I read everything, I do”. Then my wife and I check, and it’s okay, he has done a good job.
The biggest change I have seen is that Hemen now goes to the library to borrow books to read by himself. He will borrow English storybooks, he reads about 3 books a week. Once in a while I will buy newspapers and tell him to flip through when he is free, see if he can understand. For him to improve in reading is important so that he can communicate with people. In Singapore and all over the world, English is the first language which everywhere we go, we speak. Steady Readers really brings forward his standard of English so that he is prepared for higher levels of education in P5, P6, even secondary school. I’m very happy at his improvement and I think the programme is very beneficial.
Previously when Hemen first came to Singapore he can’t even read the road signs. But now as time goes by, he can read all these. Sometimes we travel in the bus, I will ask him, “Can you read that sign?” and he will quickly read it out. I tell him, “Even if you get lost, you no need to scared, you can read all this, find your way home.”
Stepfather of Hementhiran
Steady Readers beneficiary