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Asian Primary and Preschool Teachers Congress, 28 May 2011 (Sat)

Focus: Inspiring Students to become Avid Readers: Explorations with Books & New Media
Congress Directors:
Dr. Chitra Shegar, Asst Professor, National Institute of Education, Singapore and Dr. Susan Harris-Sharples, Professor Emeritus of Education, Wheelock College, US

Children’s reading achievement is not only correlated with language proficiency, but is also a good predictor of overall academic achievement. Today, teachers need to know that the notion of a book has been extended to include e-books and other electronic sources.

The Asian Primary and Preschool Teachers Congress 2011 will provide theoretical and research evidence to reiterate the importance of reading given its impact on language and academic achievement and orient teachers to the extended notion of ‘books’ in the 21st century. These parallel sessions will provide teachers with information on books and showcase best practices that have the potential to enrich all literary experiences.

For: Primary, preschool and kindergarten teachers, parents and librarians.

28 MAY (SAT)  
8.30am – 9.30am Registration
9.30am – 10.15am / Chamber

Welcome Note
by Chitra Shegar, Congress Director, Singapore

Keynote 1: Engaging and Extending Children’s Language Knowledge and Use Through Storybooks
by Susan Harris-Sharples, Professor Emeritus of Education, Wheelock College, US

Reading storybooks to children is a powerful way to engage children in using language as they make meaning of the story.  Storybook illustrations contextualise vocabulary. Predictable stories with repeated lines and phrases model grammatical structures. Stories and poems with rhyme and rhythm encourage children to play with the phonological constructs of the language. Well-crafted stories entice children to use their imagination to enter into the events of the story which extends their understanding of and ability to use the pragmatics of language. The theoretical rationale is presented for using picture storybooks as a language teaching tool. It posits that reading good children’s literature to children is a strong pedagogical tool for supporting and extending children’s development of their semantic, syntactic, phonological and pragmatic knowledge of the English language.

10.15am – 11.15am / Chamber

10.15am – 10.25am
by Kiran Shah, Storyteller and Early Childhood Educator, Singapore/Australia

10.25am – 11.15am
Symposium 1 - Developing Children into Avid Readers

by Mrs Shahul (Principal), Mr Aaron Wong, Mrs Jaswant Singh (Teachers) and two pupils from Seng Kang Primary School, Singapore
Facilitator: Chitra Shegar, Singapore

As part of the Whole School Approach (WSA) for English Language, Seng Kang Primary School (Singapore) has embarked on an extensive reading programme with the aim of developing students into avid readers. Through Read And Think (RAT), which uses the 4-R cycle (Read, Recall, Review and Reflect), students are given opportunities to voice their opinions, concerns, and comments on the materials that they have read. Seng Kang Primary will share strategies that have allowed this to happen as a result of a whole school language approach and a conducive school setting.

11.45am – 12.45pm / The Hall (Parallel)

Using the Craft of Creative Writing in the Classroom
by Pooja Makhijani, Editor and Author, US/Singapore
Facilitator: Serene Wee, Chairman of NBDCS and Children's Book Author, Singapore

In this hands-on workshop, Pooja Makhijani, will share innovative approaches to building skills in reading, writing, and critical thinking using creative writing prompts and examples from children’s books across various genres. She will discuss best practices for using creative writing pedagogy to teach composition. By the end of the session, educators will understand how the tools of creative writing can be used in the classroom to address key objectives in the language arts, including vocabulary and word choice, sentence fluency, and clear organisation.

11.45am – 12.45pm / Chamber (Parallel)

b) Supporting Young Children's Writing Development through Encouraging Developmental Spelling
by Susan Harris-Sharples, Professor Emeritus of Education, Wheelock College, US
Facilitator: Susan Fedo, Adjunct Faculty Member, Wheelock College, Singapore

Learning to write requires children to use a combination of various physical skills and mental processes. All children go through developmental phases in writing, particularly in how they construct the spelling of the words they wish to write --  moving from making squiggles, to stringing letters randomly, to using temporary invented spellings, to approximating conventional spellings,  to spelling words conventionally. This session examines the developmental phases of emergent writing and spelling, and emphasises the need to support these phases as they are fundamental to a child's literacy development. 

11.45am – 12.45pm / Play Den (Parallel)

c) What do Children Look Forward to in a Picture Book
by Mahendran Maniam, Senior Lecturer, Sultan Idris Education University, Malaysia
Facilitator: Manas R. Mahapatra, National Book Trust, India

Pictures play an important role in explaining the story. There are even picture books that come without any text, known as wordless picture books. Picture books are either intended to be read aloud to children or for children to read themselves with guidance. This session presents research that provides answers to what do children look for in a picture book and which elements in the book attracts their attention.

12.45pm – 2.15pm Lunch
2.15pm – 3.00pm / Chamber

Welcome Back
by Susan Harris-Sharples, Congress Director, US

Keynote 2: New Tools for an Old Job: A Survey of Apps for Literacy
by Warren Buckleitner, Editor, Children’s Technology Review, US

Helping a group of young children learn the skills and abilities necessary to read and write has never been an easy job, but thankfully there’s a new set of tools for the job. Here’s a closer look at some applications that are bringing new excitement to age-old challenges that come with language mastery, from letter recognition to language creation.

3.15pm – 4.15pm / Chamber

Symposium 2

3.15pm – 3.45pm
– Content and Illustrations in Children’s Books
by Leigh Cunningham, Executive Director, Association of Independent Authors, Singapore
Facilitator: David Fedo, Executive Director, Centre for International Education, Leadership, and Innovation, Wheelock College, Singapore

There is a debate on the question of content in children's literature and the extent to which authors today should incorporate realism into their stories. A child wishing to read for escapism may not want to read a story that reflects his or her life situation, or perhaps reading such stories will bring comfort knowing the child's plight is not unique. Leigh Cunningham will explain how and why she addressed issues such as death of a sibling, one-parent families, bullying, social and cultural differences in her two award-winning children's books, The Glass Table and its sequel, Shards.

3.45pm – 4.15pm
Fostering a Love for Reading & Learning in the 21st Century
by Nooraini M Nor, Regional Knowledge Manager, Scholastic Asia, Malaysia

Reading high quality children’s literature helps children experience the great stories of emotion and action, leading to a deeper understanding of what it means to be truly human.In this digital age, online literacy resources that pair fictional video storybooks and nonfiction eBooks will cultivate children’s reading habits and preferences. Highly engaging and interactive features online introduce children to a world of knowledge and exploration, while at the same time promoting a love of literacy. Nooraini M Nor will explain how online literacy resources foster a love of reading and learning for all children as well as thinking skills, both of which are critical in the 21st century.

4.45pm – 5.45pm / Chamber (Parallel)

Teaching Prediction Strategies Using the Short Film
by Dennis Yeo, Teaching Fellow, National Institute of Education, Singapore
Facilitator: Tarie Sabido, Founder of Asia in the Heart, Philippines

Even before we learned to read a book, we learned to read a film. This session will demonstrate how teachers can employ the short film as a means of accessing students’ schema of visual texts to develop their understanding of narrative and interpretation. As film encapsulates the skills of listening, viewing, reading and representing, the short film format is potentially a resource teachers can draw on to develop communication, expression and media literacy in the language classroom. Using various short films, teachers will be introduced to the genre of the short film, its advantages as a resource, and explore ideas on how it can be used in the classroom.

4.45pm – 5.45pm / The Hall (Parallel)

b) Writing Fundamentals
by Leigh Cunningham, Executive Director, Association of Independent Authors, Singapore
Facilitator: Serene Wee, Chairman of NBDCS and Children's Book Author, Singapore

This workshop will guide participants through the basic elements of creative writing, which teachers can then share with their students. Reading and writing take on a whole new meaning for children and adults alike when you understand how best to deliver a story to meet the expectations of your reader.

4.45pm – 5.45pm / Play Den (Parallel)

c) A Multi Approach: Adult’s Role in Literacy Development Through Play
by Lily Wong, Executive Director, Advent Links-SAUC Education Centre & Emily Ho, Education Director, Columbia Academy, Singapore

Studies have shown over and over again the positive impact of young children’s dramatic play on literacy development. The role of play in literacy development is vital to promote the love of reading from very young. The workshop will look at literacy enriched play centres in the classroom and how the adult role as mediator and facilitator of children’s play in a literacy enriched play environment can promote children’s literacy development.

6.00pm – 7.00pm / Screening Room (Parallel)

a) Using Immersive Technology to Help Students Improve their Reading and Writing Skills
by Randy Ang, Singapore, Co-Founder of EyePower Games, Singapore
Facilitator: Christine Chen, Founder and President of Association for Early Childhood Educators (Singapore)

Teachers from countries such as Australia, Singapore and United States, have employed the Moo-O software in a task-based language learning approach to help motivate students to improve their language arts skills.  During this process, students not only write and publish their own Moo-O stories, but they also read and act in them. An award-winning product in the United States, Moo-O is an immersive digital storybook which is effective in engaging its young users as readers and writers.

6.00pm – 7.00pm / Chamber (Parallel)

Boys and Reading
by Chitra Shegar, Asst Professor, National Institute of Education, Singapore
Facilitator: Nancy J. Johnson, 8th Grade RLA Teacher, Singapore American School

There is a world-wide achievement gap between boys and girls in reading. One of the main reasons cited for the differences is the varied reading interest of boys. In view of this, five boys were observed on their out-of-school reading practices using a variety of instruments namely, field notes, literacy dairies, interviews and audio and video recordings. The observation provided valuable insights into several aspects of reading including the reading interests of boys. In this session, the findings will be presented and its implications for preschool/primary pedagogy will also be examined.

6.00pm – 7.00pm / Play Den (Parallel)

c) When to Teach Infant/Toddler to Read?
by Lily Wong, Executive Director, Advent Links-SAUC Education Center, Singapore
Facilitator: Susan Fedo, Adjunct Faculty Member, Wheelock College, Singapore

When do I teach my infant or toddler to read? How do I teach the very young children to read? These are common questions that need common answers for parents and teachers of very young children. It is never too early to start the development of literacy skills in infants and toddlers. This interactive session will look at pre-literacy skills and activities to engage young children in reading. It will cover the role of parents and teachers in facilitating reading skills, vocabulary development and early language development in young children.

The festival organisers reserve the right to change speakers, events and/or session times, dates, and other details as necessary.

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