As part of preparations for the oral exams, teachers often advise parents to make a habit of discussing newsworthy topics with their children.
Some parents set aside time for browsing news articles with their children on a regular basis. Others use age-appropriate movies and music as conversation starters, and some have even formed family WhatsApp or Facebook groups with their children, as these are convenient platforms for sharing links and ideas.
But for many parents, finding the time, as well as the resources, to ignite a child’s interest can be challenging. The links below provide a starting point for discovery, and we hope parents will be inspired to learn more about the world alongside their children.
Join The Current
Targeted at 10–14 year olds, this is a local web site put together by four communication studies undergraduates at the Nanyang Technological University as part of their final year project. Although the site is unlikely to be updated after their project is complete, it’s worth a visit as the layout is attractive and engaging.
School Of Thought Weekly Insights
School Of Thought is an enrichment centre founded by a team of individuals passionate about education, including Nominated Member of Parliament Kuik Shiao-Yin. Since February this year, they’ve released a short but pithy newsletter that informs readers about two key issues each week (one global, one local), along with a trend to watch and a “cool event” in Singapore to attend. These newsletters provide a framework for discussion because they include a backgrounder for each story—kids will learn about the trigger event, as well as the different parties’ responses to the issue at stake.
PM Lee Hsien Loong’s FB Updates
With over 1 million followers on Facebook, Singapore’s prime minister knows what he’s doing on social media. His posts are easy to read and relate to, but more important, they contain information or messages that he considers essential for Singaporeans.
This student-centric news site trumps many others with its appealing layout and content. Articles are accessible without being dull or dumbed down, and additional features such as thought-provoking questions, activity suggestions, a glossary, and relevant links complete each article. The catch: Non-subscribers are limited to three free articles per month, and a family subscription costs £99 per year. A free trial is available.
The Family Dinner Project: Pickles & Predicaments
This site promotes “food, fun, and conversation about things that matter” by serving up interesting topics that families can discuss over dinner. The “Pickles & Predicaments” section is a collection of posts written for little ones, tweens, and teens; each post outlines a newsworthy predicament, such as cyclist Lance Armstrong’s fall from grace, and suggests questions that parents can pose to their kids.
Vox is a news site that “explains the news” to regular folk; it offers an easy way to catch up if you’ve been busy letting the world pass you by. Do note that Vox is an American site meant for an adult audience; parents should use their discretion when selecting material to share with their children.
A Mighty Girl
This Facebook page is particularly useful if you have daughters; inspiring stories about women are posted daily and you can use them to spur on your daughters to find meaningful role models, achieve their dreams, and stand up for themselves and other girls.
It’s Okay To Be Smart
If you think your kids might enjoy science videos starring an entertaining host and featuring snazzy graphics, head to the It’s Okay To Be Smart page on Facebook.
Some concepts and stories are easier to grasp on video than in writing, and there are many video makers who have dedicated themselves to the art of simplification. One example is the YouTube channel Common Craft, which is well known for its “in plain English” videos.
Graduation speeches, especially those that go viral, provide fodder for analysis—watch or read them together with your child and talk about the ideals and values that the speakers espouse. Look out for sociocultural references as well, such as in this speech by Donovan Livingston of the Harvard Graduate School of Education, delivered as spoken-word poetry and laden with references to slavery and racial injustice.