Archive for the ‘Reading’ Category

Reading and Reading aloud

Monday, November 18th, 2019

HAVE you ever noticed some children who could read fluently but have problems comprehending a text? There are others who can’t read a single word on the page but may understand when they are read to. Reading aloud means to pronounce words correctly. It is the ability to associate the sound with the printed words on the page or on the screen.

Generally, in a reading lesson in Malaysian schools, students are asked to choral repeat the passage known as group read-aloud (e.g., Ghanaguru, Ng &, Ng, 2019; Yacoob, 2006; Yacoob & Pinter, 2008). It is presumed that students who can read aloud fluently are good readers. The truth is pronunciation and understanding are two distinct elements, yet important aspects of reading. Pronunciation is to give each syllable a sound so that fluency is achieved. Understanding a text is more complicated. It involves the readers’ vocabulary size, their prior knowledge of the topic, syntax and lexis to make sense of the text. In the higher-order processes, making inferences and reasoning are involved.

The goal of this paper is to discuss reading aloud in the classrooms. In the first section, I will focus briefly what student reading aloud is and suggest ways to improve reading fluency. In the second section, I will emphasise the importance of teacher reading aloud to students.

Students read aloud

When struggling readers are asked to read aloud, their focus is on decoding a text correctly on the page without paying attention to the meaning construction or thinking about the narrative. They use all their mental faculties to decode words.

As a result, they lose focus and are not able to comprehend the words on the page. This is a challenge for at-risk students. The thought of pronouncing correctly each word in the paragraph fills them with dread as they cannot listen to others who are reading. Therefore, reading aloud can be a stressor.

When students struggle to read the sections of text aloud or when they mispronounce, teachers tend to correct them on the spot. At best, the students repeat the word and learn the right way of pronouncing it. At worst, this may cause humour and shame particularly when they are laughed at by their friends. Eventually, this kills their interest in reading. As evidenced by other research, oral reading can be nerve-racking to some students. Even good readers feel uncomfortable to read aloud, they feel embarrassed and worried about what others may think of them if they cannot pronounce properly.

Having said that, reading fluency is crucial. Research has showed that reading fluency and comprehension are highly correlated. That means when students are reading fluently, it is likely that they understand what they are reading.

Teaching phonics is one way to help young learners improve their reading fluency. Each letter in English has a sound called a phoneme. Children learn the three-letter word or CVC word which comprised of a consonant, a vowel and another consonant. Then they are introduced to vowel digraphs. A digraph is made up of two vowels put together to make a sound. For example, /oo/, /ee/, and /ai/ are vowel digraphs. This is followed by introducing consonant digraphs i.e., two consonants put together to make one sound such as /ch/, /th/. In other words, children move from learning individual letter sound to blending the sound and finally saying the whole word and subsequently a sentence.

Readers theatre is another effective way of teaching reading fluency. It is a technique for students to read aloud with expressions. Readers theatre is like a small-scale drama in which students do not need to memorise their parts. They retain their scripts and hold them with their left hands. Like drama, students are able to move freely, using gestures and body movements. Readers theatre can be performed anywhere – it can be the floor of the classroom – without stage sets, costumes or props. Instead, readers use their voices to express themselves. Repeated reading is the gem of readers theatre. Students practise reading before performing and this gives them a purpose to read aloud and to perform which they enjoy fondly. Since everyone has a part, students will not feel that they are put on a spot, not even struggling readers. As students practise reading over and over again, fluency is achieved. Not only that, their comprehension also improves. In essence, readers theatre helps develop fluency and increase comprehension.

Teachers read to students

Teachers reading aloud to students bridges the divide to literacy. Reading aloud to students “motivates students to read on their own, model good reading, promote critical thinking, and create a sense of community in the classroom” (Oczkus, 2012). Early childhood educators have long been aware of the importance of reading aloud to children and the role it plays in children’s emergent literacy development and eventual reading achievement (Bus, van Ijzendoorn, & Pellegrini, 1999; Fox, 2013; Kalb & van Ours, 2014; Swanson, Vaughn, Wanzek, Petscher, Heckert, Cavanaugh, Kraft, & Tackett, 2011).

Reading to students in general, is missing in Malaysian schools. Most students go through primary schools or secondary schools without anyone reading to them. In a recent preliminary study on 54 18- to 19-year-olds, 37pc of them have never read any children stories in English. 33pc read one children story. Only 7.7pc of the respondents claimed that they read five children stories. Out of 54 students, three students read famous children tales like Ugly Duckling, and two read Little Red Riding Hood. This can be understood as English is learned as a second language, while others a foreign language.

In another study on 38 primary school teachers in Sabah, 81.6pc of them state that they use the prescribed text book to teach reading most of the times. This implies that students will rarely have a chance to read children tales in English if teachers do not introduce this genre or read to them in the classroom.

Reading aloud to someone is a shared reading experience between a child and a parent or guardian or teacher (Ledger & Merganser, 2018). Recent research has shown that reading aloud to children enhances children’s social-emotional development and sustains impacts on attention problems crucial for education and health (Mendelssohn et al., 2018).

Programme for International Student Assessment or PISA Test results in 2009 found that reading books to young primary students and talking with adolescents about books have a positive bearing on students’ learning (OECD, 2012). This shows that reading aloud is not just limited to young children.

Although reading aloud to is not a panacea, its benefit is enormous in terms of nurturing the literacy development of all students, including at-risk students. An analysis of 29 studies found that read-aloud interventions have significant effects on children’s language, their phonological awareness, print concepts, comprehension, and vocabulary suggesting that read-aloud interventions increase at-risk children’s literacy outcomes than children who do not take part in these interventions (Swanson et al. 2012). Reading to students helps develop students’ concept of print, story structure and the other elements of texts. It also enriches students’ information about the text. In a seminal report Becoming a Nation of Readers: The report of the Commission on Reading (1985), Anderson, Hebert, Scott and Wilkinson contend that:

The opportunities to read aloud and listen to others read aloud are features of the literate environment, whatever the reader’s level. There is no substitute for a teacher who reads children good stories. It whets the appetite of children for reading and provides a model of skilful oral reading. It is a practice that should continue throughout the grades (p. 51).

Teachers model the act of reading in the classroom has a flurry of benefits. Research has shown that teacher modelling in reading aloud practices has positively impact secondary students’ attitudes towards reading. Attitude refers to one’s “preference for a topic, subject, or activity” (Albright, 2000, p. 17). By modelling, it means teachers read dramatically using vivid expressions and expressive movements such as hand gestures and facial expressions. When teachers model reading behaviours particularly pronunciation, style, and intonation, it motivates students to read aloud and thereby improve their reading attitude. However, in Clark and Andreasen’s study (2014), the researchers found that the level of students’ engagement during teacher read aloud was inconsistent. Some students enjoyed the story, while the others did not. Some claimed that they enjoyed teacher reading aloud because the ambience was more relaxing than when teacher was teaching. These students felt that they were not asked to read so they were relieved, particularly students who were apathetic.

McGee and Schickedanz (2007) claim that unless books are shared with students involving them in asking and answering question, making predictions and inferences, reading aloud to students cannot increase students’ vocabularies and also their understanding (Dickinson, 2001). In other words, listening to stories passively is insufficient. Interaction with the teacher and peers after reading aloud can increase students’ vocabulary knowledge (Hargrave & Senechal, 2000). That means when students actively participate in dialogic and analytical thinking, reading aloud session becomes alive, paving the way for the growth of literacy development.

Bernadette Dwyer (2019), the past president of International Literacy Association says that, “lack of literacy [is] a problem we can no longer ignore.” Our students can’t learn to read by confining to ‘reading’ the English textbook in class. I echo the International Literacy Association’s Children’s Rights to Read initiative: ensuring equity, equality of opportunity, and social justice for all children. Whatever backgrounds our students come from, whatever ethnicities they are, or whatever their social circumstances they are, we are held responsible for our students’ right to read!

By: Jocelyn Lee.

Read more @ http://www.dailyexpress.com.my/read/3311/reading-and-reading-aloud/

Cannot let go the love for reading

Monday, October 28th, 2019
Now what shall I tell you about today?  After my grumble about macaroni cheese in this column, I was asked to put my money where my mouth is and talk about it on Ben Uzair’s KK12FM show, Make it Happen.  It’s on today (Sunday) at 8 – 10 am, so I hope you enjoy my blathering! He’s a patient man!

I love radio.  It’s so much more fun than television. You can listen while you are doing something else.

You can listen anywhere, instead of being pinned to the sofa. And you can let your imagination fill in all the gaps. It’s like reading, which is why it’s not easy reading first and seeing all your characters look different on the screen.

The pitfalls of Feverfall

I do hope people enjoy reading as I struggle with my second book, Feverfall.  It is set in a strange island that might be Sabah might be Cambodia might be anywhere, and has people who have characteristics and traditions that might be vaguely recognisable, but it is a work of fiction and I am playing with all of it.

The heroine is half British, because that’s what I know, and half something else. There may or may not be a murder. Magic. A love affair. I’m enjoying myself, when I actually place myself upon the chair in front of the computer and get going.

But as usual I find myself a hundred distractions before I do that. I even go to the gym, so it must be bad! Then I have a shower and wash and dry my hair. 20 mins.
I check the watering of the plants – at least 15. I go through my emails and messages – oh goodie, there are plenty so that takes half an hour. I can be so creative, until there really is nothing left to do except write.

And the silly thing is, once I start, I’m in, and the story picks itself up and proceeds. I do enjoy it, but not enough to do what Somerset Maugham did (I am not assuming that my talent compares with his but I envy both that and his work ethic).

He would have breakfast, work till noon and then have the rest of the day to do whatever he liked at his Villa Mauresque in the South of France and elsewhere.  You have to just push yourself to start, and then off you go.

Look – today I’m writing this column. Much more manageable – the final full stop is visible.

My novel’s is hidden in the swirling mists of the future.

Bookworms

What have you been reading? I have just finished a very odd autobiography of Anne Glenconner, a Lady in Waiting to Princess Margaret.

No idea why I started it but it was oddly gripping with its tales of her complicated, stylish and unpredictable husband (weeping loudly at the opera about missing someone, wearing a PVC suit in the Caribbean and refusing to take it off until he fainted with the heat), her demanding boss who she depicts as having a sense of humour and kindness, and it is heartbreaking as she tells of the loss of her two sons.

Before that I read the autobiography of Elton John, which is warts and all, and very funny, even in the depths of his drug-addled stardom.

And it has a happy ending.

Now what? There’s lots out there but I have become a lazy reader and unless I find something really tempting, I tend to lean towards Lee Child and Jack Reacher (oh, if only…).

Recently I have devoured Philip Pullman’s Book of Dust, Mary Beard’s Women and Power, and I am about to start Girl Woman Other, Bernadine Evaristo’s novel that won this year’s Booker Prize. I hope it’s worth the fanfare.

A familiar face

I went to the cinema the other day to see Gemini Man. It was better than the reviews had led me to believe.

I settled down to watch, winding a pashmina round my chilly shoulders and sticking earplugs in to try to reduce the noise (why do cinemas have to be so cold and so noisy???), and munched my way through a hot dog that was so delicious that it had to be bad for me.

Will Smith was Will Smith, the woman I had not heard of but liked (Mary Elizabeth Winstead, not the starriest of names, and there was a bald man who was Smith’s handler who looked a little familiar.

I didn’t spend much time thinking about it. He was convincing, and that was what mattered while I watched.

I checked the cast list at the end. Ralph Brown.  Of course he was familiar! I went to school with him!

He always wanted to be an actor, and I remember sewing him into his costume at the school play. He was very handsome then, and, now in his 60s, is rather less so – but the boy can act!

I checked on Wikipedia and learnt that:

As of October 22, 2019, Gemini Man has grossed $38.2 million in the United States and Canada, and $83.3 million in other territories, for a worldwide total of $121.4 million.

It is estimated the film will need to gross around $275 million worldwide in order to break even.  Blimey – that’s an awful lot of money.  Hurry up and get to the cinema. Ralph’s gotta eat.

By: Syvia Howe.

Read more @ http://www.dailyexpress.com.my/read/3270/cannot-let-go-the-love-for-reading/

Newspapers give voice to the voiceless

Wednesday, October 23rd, 2019
Newspapers have been a great help in promoting social activism for the betterment of society in general, regardless of race, creed or colour.

I FOLLOWED with deep interest the discussion on print and social media at the recent forum in Shah Alam on ‘Survival of Print Media: Why go soft when you can go hard?’, organised by Universiti Teknologi Mara’s Mass Communications Alumni and UiTM Rembau’s Faculty of Communications and Media Studies (NST, Oct 20).

I have been an ardent fan of print journalism ever since I picked up my first newspaper when I joined the workforce over 50 years ago. I am still happily addicted to this habit of reading the newspaper and cannot remember starting my day without reading at least three newspapers in three languages.

The newspapers have been my daily diet of views, reviews, alerts, advertisements, obituaries, comics and Lat cartoons when they used to appear regularly in the New Straits Times.

Sure, nowadays I also follow the new kid on the block, the electronic media, but it is on the old warhorse and the tabloid newspaper that I rely on for my daily serving of all the news that is fit to print.

There are many reasons for my addiction. The print media is always accountable for what they print. And because of that they are careful to separate fact from opinion.

There are several layers of checks for accuracy, style and credibility employed by reporters, news editors, sub-editors and production editors.

These checks ensure that the news that is printed and read the next day had undergone rigorous checks for veracity and accuracy.

And therefore it was news worthy of print. There was hence no way that mere gossip or fake news could be passed off as genuine.

Even when the newspapers publish editorials or opinion pieces, the journalists are careful to give two sides of the coin, and if there is a third side, to give that side too. That’s how trust was built and nurtured.

Newspapers cater to a cross-section of the community or society. And so there is a sense of balance in the selection of news for print. There is always something for everybody — the baby boomers, the millennials, the Gen X and Gen Z.

And probably one of the most important considerations that I found commendable was the self-restraint that the editors exhibited when it came to publishing racially or morally sensitive issues.

These issues, whenever they arose, were often couched in non-emotive language. And there was seldom a reference to a person’s race unless it was germane to the story in question.

While newspapers gave space and coverage to largely current issues, they also championed non-sensational causes like poverty eradication, social mobility and the plight of the underdog. They gave voice to the voiceless.

The best part is that newspapers are held accountable every day. And journalists are an open book. Their work is available for all to see, to savour or to criticise. Unlike other professionals, their mistakes are there for all to see.

For me personally, newspapers have been a great help in promoting social activism for the betterment of society in general, regardless of race, creed or colour.

Newspapers have also provided me with valuable feedback and insights that have helped in the work of non-governmental organisations that I have been involved in, especially in the fields of industrial safety and health, crime prevention, animal welfare and volunteerism.

I am sure the day will never come when newspapers do not become recorders of history but are relegated to the dustbin of history.

I salute all the journalists, past and present, the editors, the sub- editors, the production workers and the advertising and management teams of the English, Malay, Chinese and Tamil press, and wish them all the best and hope never to see the back end of a front page.

There is no denying that newspapers can contribute to a reading culture which needs to be promoted. We must therefore do our utmost to save and sustain the print media which, for a ringgit or two, brings the world to our doorstep.

But who can save it? Ultimately it is the people who can and must. The print media can help foster an informed community and nation that is so essential for a vibrant democracy.

The people must therefore continue to buy, read and share newspapers.

By TAN SRI LEE LAM THYE.

Read more @ https://www.nst.com.my/opinion/columnists/2019/10/532455/newspapers-give-voice-voiceless

Book translation critical to knowledge transfer

Thursday, October 3rd, 2019
Jan Gehl, renowned architect and author of ‘Cities for People’, congratulating Universiti Malaya Press for the launch of the translation of the book through pre-recorded video.
By Rozana Sani - October 2, 2019 @ 1:40pm

TRANSLATION of works from foreign languages into Bahasa Malaysia is key in knowledge transfer efforts, especially in academia.

Universiti Malaya (UM) vice-chancellor Datuk Dr Abdul Rahim Hashim said in the pursuit of national development, it was impossible to produce adequate resources and material, whether academia or general in nature, in a speedy manner.

Speaking at the launch of the translated work of renowned architect and author Jan Gehl, Cities for People, into Bahasa Malaysia by the University of Malaya Press (UMP), he said UMP’s commitment to adhere to the highest standards in academic publishing and its duty of disseminating the work of researchers and specialists to the general public was commendable and necessary.

Referring to its role in publishing, Abdul Rahim said: “Besides its apparent focus on academic works, UMP’s interests are also in publications that contribute to the understanding of issues that affect the local and international community.

“It also seeks to champion the arts and the environment through its publications,” he said, adding that such efforts will continue to be a priority for the university and UMP.

The launch of the book was officiated by UM pro-chancellor Toh Puan Dr Aishah Ong.

Gehl is an architect from Copenhagen, Denmark, and a former professor at the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts who studied the architectural design structure of cities for more than 50 years.

Cities for People had been translated into 38 languages in the last nine years. The book, titled Bandar Mesra Manusia in Bahasa Malaysia, presents an approach to creating a human-friendly city and it also explains the methods and tools used to reconfigure the city scene.

During the ceremony, Gehl congratulated UMP for the launch of the translated book via a pre-recorded video.

In a separate interview, UMP director Adam Wong Abdullah said UMP, the oldest university press in Malaysia, which was founded in 1954, publishes a mix of about 40 Bahasa Malaysia and English language titles a year.

It has a backlist of more than 1000 titles, most of which are available in physical or electronic form locally and internationally. Since 2012, it has amassed 18 publishing awards.

“Although it is seldom articulated, UMP plays an important role in the branding of the university. Our publications are scholarly communication that brings Universiti Malaya into the minds and hearts of academics, scholars and researchers as every book that is sold or ‘discovered’ reflects the excellence and commitment of the university,” said Adam.

He said titles selected for translation into Bahasa Malaysia must meet certain criteria.

“Not all our translation projects are academic in nature. The significance and impact of the work on local society is the main consideration. Questions, such as how will it help Malaysians understand the subject better, what will it contribute to the conservation of a particular matter, will a translation in Bahasa Malaysia enrich or cultivate more thinking, should be satisfactorily answered before we embark on these projects.”

He said translations were almost always costly affairs, and being a university press, UMP needed to work very strictly with available funds.

“We draw our translators from within the university or other academic institutions. For academic works, those assigned are required to be experts in the same field. A language editor is then assigned to look into the readability of the translation,” Adam said.

In the 1970s, he said UMP translated and published, in what was probably the first of its kind, Shakespeare’s plays into Bahasa Malaysia.

In recent years, it has endeavoured to translate and publish important works in areas of public interest or specialisation. Among the books published are: Panduan Penjagaan dan Pengunaan Haiwan Makmal, translated from the Guide for the Care and Use of Laboratory Animals. This is a compulsory reference for institutions that do research involving lab animals.

Buku Panduan Galas Datar, translated from Handbook of Plain Bearings, a technical book for automotive students

“Bandar Mesra Manusia, translated from Cities for People, is regarded the guide on town planning,” said Adam.

Some translations in the pipeline include Creative Dance, a source for teaching dance to children, and two other publications from Spanish to Malay.

By Rozana Sani.

Read more @ https://www.nst.com.my/education/2019/10/526401/book-translation-critical-knowledge-transfer

Which is the best way to read?

Sunday, July 21st, 2019
Courses at universities use both printed and digital reading materials.

JUST about everything nowadays is going digital. When it comes to electronic books (or e-books), however, there has been a lot of discussion and debate on their usefulness and relevance.

The printed form has notable, good qualities including being easier on the eyes and less distracting.

But the benefits of e-books are aplenty, such as being lightweight and flexible and interactive. And they can be read in the dark.

Law student Adnan Yunus, 20, from Inti International University, said his course utilises both printed and digital reading materials.

“Students here usually use reading materials adapted from notes that have been prepared by lecturers. The primary material that students and lecturers still rely on are hard copy textbooks. However, we are also encouraged to undertake extensive research online.”

Nurul Nabilah Sulaiman, 24, a quantity surveying undergraduate from International Islamic University Malaysia (IIUM), said: “Our lecturers provide materials online. We are also encouraged to read books so that we can get the bigger picture of what the topic is all about.

“There were one or two classes which required us to purchase reference books,” said Nurul.

Do students read texts on-screen as effectively as they do on paper? Can students learn better from one type of reading material compared to the other?

HigherED spoke to students and lecturers from various fields to get their views.

DIGITISED READINGS

IIUM Psychology student Rayhana Talib, 23, said that students in her course are expected to purchase printed textbooks which are usually also available in digital form.

The fourth-year student said: “In class, I prefer digital books because of easy access through devices. Plus, you don’t have to carry heavy textbooks to classes.”

“From experience and research, I find that digital resources allow one to skim over information very quickly, which is extremely helpful and complements conventional lectures and classes.

“With e-books, I save on paper and money. Some students also feel that physical textbooks are expensive and I agree that this is one downside. But a visit to the library never hurts. I have been doing so throughout the course of my studies,” said Rayhana.

Muhammad Haziq Shaharuddin, 20, a dentistry undergraduate from Universiti Malaya, said that his lecturers provide online reading materials and he prefers going digital.

“Lecture notes can be accessed through Spectrum, our university’s online learning management system. For additional reading, lecturers will recommend textbooks which we can buy in printed or digital form.

“Digital materials have definitely helped me learn and understand my lessons better compared to printed books. Instead of just reading through long text and pictures, I learn through videos and interactive notes as well. This makes learning much more interesting,” said the first-year student.

Muhammad Haziq added that it is also easier to take notes during lecturers and classes using a digital device.

“I use a stylus pen and an app called Notability for highlighting and jotting down notes. The app allows me to open two files simultaneously on a screen which is useful when I want to write my notes while referring to an e-book.

“My digital notes are a lot more organised and colourful compared to ones written on paper. The fact that I can zoom in and out of the screen helps me a lot”.

The first-year dentistry undergraduate added that it is more convenient, saying: “Every morning I just pack my device in my bag and I’m good to go. There’s no need for me to bring thick and heavy books or files to class when I have everything that I need on my iPad.”

Michelle Lim Ke Wei, 22, who studies at Tunku Abdul Rahman University College, does not encounter problems studying using e-books.

“I highlight my notes on my iPad and it is very convenient. Normally, I will download the notes from Google Classroom or from a website journal and save it in PDF format.

“Printed books usually do not include the latest news on certain topics of discussion. Hence, I go for digital resources to help me better understand certain issues in my studies.”

Michelle Lim Ke Wei enjoys reading e-books and taking notes with her iPad.

EFFECTIVE LEARNING

However, there are also many students who find reading printed materials and books as being a much better option for learning and studying.

Both Adnan and Nurul Nabilah said that they prefer reading printed books.

“I find that I am able to absorb information better when they come from printed materials,” said Adnan.

“I also find that hardcopy books are more convenient compared to digital resources. Reading on-screen can be problemetic when they is lagging issues that happens from time to time when using a digital platform or device,” added Nurul Nabilah.

Ethan Wong Hsien Aun, 20 from Monash University Malaysia, agrees that physical books help him learn more effectively.

“The conventional pencil-and-paper approach to taking down notes allows me to retain and recall information better.

“By physically writing, I can make sense of my notes. I can draw mind maps and I connect pieces of information together faster,” said Wong, a tropical environmental biology undergraduate.

Wong added that he may use e-books during lectures but he does not do so when it comes to doing revisions.

“I normally transfer the e-notes onto paper by writing them all out as preparation for examinations.”

“I try to reduce my dependence on reading digitally because it can be glaring and it makes me susceptible to slacking off as I may scroll through social media. The sound of a notification can also rob my attention and disrupt my focus,” said the third year undergraduate, who added that he would put away his laptop and other devices when carrying out revisions.

For Adnan, he needs to internalise information that he has learnt, as it is not just about retaining them. This is why he prefers physical books.

“The best way to remember a subject matter is to create and draft out our own notes on a piece of paper or by using mobile devices. This allows us to identify important points and to critically analyse and decipher what is important.

“With on-screen reading, I rarely find the right source on a subject immediately. It is important for students to know what they are looking for. With physical books, the sources of information are more specific,” he said.

Adnan said that although a vast amount of content exist on digital platforms, it can easily cause him to lose concentration.

“Personally, reading on-screen is a challenge because my attention and focus are constantly disrupted.”

Adnan added: “I often go through research databases to gain additional information which is important when studying for exams.

“Searching for information online can be tough as it is mentally exhausting and there is endless amount of information to sift through.

“For me, reading from a physical textbook or journal for a couple of hours is more manageable. I find that I am able to retain information better this way,” he said.

For Nurul Nabilah, reading physical books leads to a better understanding. “I am able to take down notes and scribble, especially the parts which I do not understand. Later, I can refer to my lecturers or friends who can help me.”

Despite preferring e-books for in-class references, Rayhana still relies on physical books for revision.

“In understanding what is learnt, they are a much better option. They have fewer distractions — as people tend to multitask when on their devices — and it is easier to read and comprehend information when you can flip through pages.

“When preparing for exams, there are a lot of materials to read. So, if I rely on digital resources, it will take a considerably longer time to finish reading and comprehending it all. I would also need time for my eyes to rest and recover from the glare of the screen,” said Rayhana.

Muhammad Haziq, meanwhile, uses the iPad to access e-books when preparing for exams.

“The iPad helps me study faster. Whenever I need to search for something, instead of flipping through the pages, the search bar leads me to the exact page or content. I use this tool a lot and this helps me save time.”

However, he admitted that there are distractions. “Sometimes I do take a break to watch Youtube videos or play games,” he admitted.

PROS AND CONS

Dihlvinder Kaur Gill, an INTI International University Law lecturer, said that using e-books is a positive step forward.

“When used simultaneously, online and printed resources provide students with a versatile learning experience. Interactive materials serve to enhance the students’ understanding by reinforcing concepts through a visual manner and encourages active learning.

“I usually assign additional reading materials which include case studies in both printed and digital formats,” said the senior lecturer.

Associate Professor Dr.Tan Chee Pin, Mechatronics Engineering programme head at Monash University, said that digital materials provide a more thorough form of guidance.

“Students are able to see and piece relevant concepts together more easily, as opposed to having the facts displayed all at once.

However, Tan personally prefers printed books. “There is a great advantage to having physical books — it feels more natural and it is easier to annotate and manipulate. It is more engaging to have something physical, especially if the topic is deep and requires a lot of abstract thinking.”

Associate professor Dr Firdaus Hariri, the deputy dean of UM’s Dentistry Faculty, said: “People today want everything to be at their fingertips. I think most institutions are moving towards e-books and e-learning.

“Subjects such as Anatomy are now being taught via virtual reality. Students can have immediate access to digital resources during discussions and clinical sessions.”

Dr Roziha Che Haron, a quantity surveying lecturer at IIUM, said that she prefers students to use and refer to printed materials for certain subjects.

“For instance, in principles of measurement, students need to be equipped with the Malaysian Standard Method of Measurement (SMM).

“But there is a need to adopt various techniques to better teach the younger generation. E-books make them adept at understanding subjects better,” Roziha pointed out.

Pamilia Lourdunathan Andrew, a psychology lecturer at IIUM, said: “Digital books are more appealing as they can be accessed while waiting for public transportation or during train rides.

Printed books are still preferred by students.

However, Pamilia highlighted that printed books are equally important.

“For example, dated books from founders of psychology theories are vital for learning, and not all of these are readily available online,” said Pamilia.

Associate Professor Dr. Dorothy Dewitt, from UM’s Education Faculty, said that e-books can enhance students’ learning experience.

“With digital resources, you can utilise both audio and visual channels. If students just read and read, they won’t remember what they are supposed to learn,” said Dewitt.

She cited Allan Paivio’s dual-coding theory, which claims that people learn better when they utilise two channels at the same time.

Dewitt added: “By using a device to read, you can synthesise information and write as you read which makes it very useful. And when you click on a certain hyperlink, you will find further resources.

“Looking at research and our students, most of them, especially the undergraduates, prefer the online version. But some older students who are doing their masters and PhD still prefer hard copy books.”

By Rayyan Rafidi.

Read more @ https://www.nst.com.my/education/2019/07/505023/which-best-way-read

Burying our noses in books

Sunday, June 23rd, 2019

THE sweet scent of paper. The comforting feeling of a hardcover in your hands. And the thrill of turning to the last page to know how the story ends.

These experiences from reading books, novels and others can never be replaced by our handphones and digital devices.

But even at a time when everything is online and available at the tap of a button, Malaysians seem to love the written word in print.

In fact, the National Library of Malaysia has recorded more membership applications and higher number of borrowed materials over the past few months.

A check by Sunday Star on the library’s website showed that more people have applied to be members from 2,563 applications in February to 4,153 in May this year.

More reading materials are also being borrowed, steadily increasing – 27,293 in February, 32,390 in March, rising to 34,111 in April and 34,436 in May .At present, people can choose to enjoy audiobooks, e-books and other digital reading material.

But printed books are still a strong choice among Malaysians when it comes to leisure reading, deep dive reading and the non-fiction category, says Malaysian Book Publishers Association president Arief Hakim Sani Rahmat.

“This is especially when people want to turn off from social media noise,” he says.

However, while Malaysians love to read, Arief Hakim Sani points out that there are areas which can be improved.

“We hope that the new #MalaysiaMembaca reading campaign initiated by the Education Minister will get serious funding and receive public support,” he adds.

The Malaysian love affair with books is also evident during book sales and festivals, with crowds making a beeline for them, happily carting away their purchases.

About 650,000 people visited the BookFest@Malaysia that ended on June 9, an event by Popular Book Co (M) Sdn Bhd, which has grown stronger every year.

Malaysians also flocked to previous sales like the Big Bad Wolf book sale, which opened 24 hours for avid readers to shop at any time of day.

These signs show a healthy love for reading but more still needs to be done if Malaysia is to be on par with developed countries.

Citizens in such countries read an average of 40 books a year, the Education Ministry said in reports.

Malaysians, in comparison, read only 15 books a year, based on an interim study done by the National Library in 2014. In 2005, Malaysians only read two books a year.

While the ministry is embarking on efforts to boost reading through the National Reading Decade, the National Union of the Teaching Profession (NUTP) also suggests that school libraries be revamped to attract more young minds.

“Make the library a place of choice and what students want,” says NUTP secretary-general Harry Tan.For one, the selection of books should be contemporary to reflect the times.

He observes that libraries in local schools are somewhat conservative.

“Our knowledge doubles up every few years but most of our books are still the same,” he says.

To make it attractive for students, libraries should also be a more welcoming place.

“There should be beanie bags for students to read in a relaxed setting. Lockers and coffee machines could also be included to create a friendly environment and encourage more to step inside a library,” he suggests.

In December, the ministry declared 2020 to 2030 as the National Reading Decade, to foster a reading culture among Malaysians.

The ministry had said although 87% of Malaysians do read, there was still a need to strengthen the habit across society.

“A campaign to inculcate reading among Malaysians has been implemented for over two decades through various programmes.

“However, there’s still not enough impact and participation,” the ministry said.

As such, the ministry has ongoing plans to increase efforts to encourage reading through national reading campaigns until 2020.

Then, from 2021 to 2030, during the National Reading Decade, the ministry wants to transform Malaysia into a reading nation.

It was reported that Malaysia ranked as among the world’s highest spenders on books based on a recent study by Polish e-commerce firm Picodi.According to the report in April, 76% of Malaysians bought at least one book over the past year.

However, the study noted that this does not reflect actual reading habits.

A main factor to boost the reading culture is starting them young.

Tan admits that while students do read, it just isn’t always know­ledge-based information or what their teachers want.

“They know about the latest apps online. They can also read and sing Korean pop songs, and they do it on their own,” he observes.

As such, Tan says the challenge is to make students want to read about educational material, either through physical books or through digital devices.

“Perhaps one way is to spark curiosity and interest through science-based comics.

“We need to embrace new ways to reach out to students and learn to change the stuff they read to what we want to teach,” he adds.

Nevertheless, the love for books burns bright, despite it being the digital age.

Popular Book Co (M) Sdn Bhd executive director Lim Lee Ngoh says youths have many distractions like social media and video games.

“As a bookseller, it’s always our role to encourage Malaysians to read. This year, we want to urge youths to cultivate the good habit of reading.

“But despite the Internet and digital devices, Malaysians in general still love reading and buying books.

“From our observation, people purchase books based on their preference for authors while some buy books to add to their collection,” she says.

By Yuen Meikeng
Read more @
https://www.thestar.com.my/news/nation/2019/06/23/burying-our-noses-in-books/#fp6FG84LW6JkrMwV.99

Physical books are more personal than e-books, say Malaysian bookworms.

Sunday, June 23rd, 2019

THERE’S nothing like curling up with a good book for company.

When asked why they prefer reading physical books than e-books or other online material, several book lovers say it is simply a more personal experience.

“Books are more like companions, so I can say that most book lovers like me are normally emotionally attached to our hard copies.

“It also feels like I have ownership of the books – ‘They’re mine, I love them! My precious!’

“The books I read also represent my identity, personality, feelings and somewhat define who I am or who I want to be.

“Hence, I take really great care of my books like they’re part of me.

“E-books don’t evoke such feelings. It feels more like a digital service,” says Juliana, who started reading more avidly two years ago after she quit her office job.

She believes the reading culture here is blooming, with more people selling second-hand books, vintage publications on social media and online marketplaces.

“Some people also do book swaps, so getting hold of books are made easy and cheap,” adds Juliana, who enjoys genres like

fantasy, sci-fi, romance and classic literature.

She believes many more Malaysians would want to read if they have more balanced lifestyles.

“It will take a lot of effort from the government, institutions including libraries and corporations to come up with efficient ways to promote reading to Malaysians,” she says.

Postgraduate student Anna Raj, 29, also points out that the look and feel of physical books put her in the mood to read.

“With online stuff, I find that I struggle to focus and my reading speed is slowed down,” she says.

Anna buys an average of 30 books a year, having a habit of borrowing books from friends and local libraries since young.

“Through my childhood and teenage years, I’ve enjoyed fiction, especially the fantasy genre.

“But more recently I prefer non-fiction books that are related to political studies and current affairs,” she says.

She agrees that Malaysia’s reading culture is average and we need to do more.

“In developed nations like the United Kingdom, you will find

people reading just about everywhere, especially when on public transportation,” she observes.

Anna says she does see many youths carting away boxes of books at sales but from observation, they don’t read them as often as they should.

As someone who admits buying loads of books from sales, marketing executive Mike Lam, 28, says he goes for the discounts and buys in bulk.

“Sometimes, I buy bags and bags of them until my mother complains,” he laughs.

Lam says he prefers to buy physical books to support his favourite authors including Paulo Coelho, J. K. Rowling and George R. R. Martin.

“I also read works from politicians and popular personalities including Hillary Clinton and Michelle Obama.

“I like to keep track of what I read too, it feels better with a physical copy than an e-book,” he says.

Lam says reading books also offers a chance to disconnect from digital screens which are part of everyday life today.

However, some do believe that e-books and online publications have its own benefits.

IT executive Candice Wong, 34, says she reads online articles from magazine websites during her spare time to unwind.

“I can read it anywhere as long as I have my phone with me. There is also the option of viewing photos and videos online.

Read more @ https://www.thestar.com.my/news/nation/2019/06/23/physical-books-are-more-personal-than-ebooks-say-malaysian-bookworms/#Ku3Xj1iUg7sMAc08.99

Malaysians love reading, but fewer local books sold.

Sunday, June 23rd, 2019

PETALING JAYA: The love for rea­ding is growing with more people applying to be members of the National Library.

There has been a steady growth in membership applications every month from 2,563 in February to 4,153 in May this year, according to the National Library’s website.

But sales of locally published books have declined, leading to less revenue for Malaysian publishers.

The Malaysian Book Publishers Association (Mabopa) said this was due to, among other reasons, fewer books being published in the country.

The total revenue earned by local book publishers shrank by 29% from RM1.192bil in 2014 to RM847mil in 2016.

“Revenue started to drop after 2015 due to the decline in sales.

“It also declined in 2016 because of the cancellation of the previous government’s book voucher programme for students.

“Another factor is reduced consumer spending power in the past few years,” said Arief Hakim Sani.

The industry took a hit when the RM1,000 tax incentive specifically for books was replaced with a RM2,500 lifestyle tax relief inclusive of books, Internet subscription and other things in 2017.

Last year, 18,663 book titles were published locally with most being under the languages and literature categories, according to the statistics of books registered under the Library Depository Act.

Malaysians, on average, read about 15 books a year based on an interim study done by the National Library in 2014.

But this is still a long way to go compared to those from developed countries who read an average of 40 books a year.

Arief Hakim Sani said the association believed that reading would grow in tandem with Malaysia’s economic and social progress.

“We hope the government will boost reading culture through tax incentives, specifically targeting the purchase of reading materials, book donations, and for royalty income from writing.

“There are existing incentives but we need more, especially with the current rising cost of living in Malaysia,” he said.

Arief Hakim Sani hoped there would be funding for libraries to purchase and restore book collections with latest books.

In March, it was reported that Education Minister Dr Maszlee Malik said he would reinstate the RM250 book vouchers that students once received under the now-­defunct 1Malaysia Book Vou­cher (BB1M) programme by next year.

Currently, the ministry provides RM100 aid to each student under the new Higher Education Student Aid programme.

This one-off aid is channelled into debit cards for students known as Kad Diskaun Siswa, enabling them to buy reading material, stationery, computer equipment and Internet access.

“Any extended assistance from this programme in future is subject to the financial capabilities of the government and based on the need to fulfil other commitments,” the ministry said when contacted.

Despite the changing times, the ministry said that a reading culture was still the key that led a society to be advanced and developed.

By Yuen Meikeng
Read more @
https://www.thestar.com.my/news/nation/2019/06/23/malaysians-love-reading-but-fewer-local-books-sold/#skivc1ACq2L7VF10.99

Writer commemorates father’s life, childhood with book

Saturday, June 1st, 2019

Cyril (second right) presenting ‘Dungkahang to Seria: My father’s quest, my growing up’ to Wong. Also seen is Tan Sri Herman J Luping (seated), who wrote the foreword for the book.

KOTA KINABALU: To commemorate his father’s life and his childhood, growing up with Kadazan roots in Brunei, Cyril Wong wrote the book ‘Dungkahang to Seria: My father’s quest, my growing up.’

After presenting the book to the Sabah State Library, Cyril told reporters that he was inspired to write it after meeting his father’s side of the family.

“I thought, instead of just documenting my father’s family tree, why not tell his story? I started in mid-March last year and completed the book within a year.

“The tough part was getting old photographs and liaising with those I interviewed for the book. It also took a bit of time to get permission from Brunei Shell to use their statistics,” he said.

In the aftermath of World War II, Cyril explained how his father was among those who sought to rebuild and make a life for himself. His quest for greener pastures led him to Seria, Brunei, where he worked in the oil and gas industry.

“My father embarked on working life in his young adult years, in his early 20s. He remained at the company (Shell) till he retired.

“He started in a low position and worked his way up, taking extra classes along the way and studying English to improve his communication skills. His last posting was as a steward in Labuan,” he elaborated.

Cyril hoped the book would impact targeted readers, namely the younger generation as well as those in his age group. For younger readers, he hoped the book would provide insight to the way of life in his childhood, while he hoped his peers would be able to appreciate a trip down memory lane and his re-telling of his experience growing up out of Sabah.

“I want to tell the younger generation how challenging life was in my time. Back then, we had to plant our own paddy for rice. Now, you can simply buy it from shops.

“For school fees, my parents had to collect firewood. I want to tell youths that although life may be hard, you can survive if you continue to seek knowledge and polish your skills.

“As for my age group, I want to share my experience growing up in Seria. I had a good childhood there and enjoyed growing up in an oil town,” he explained.

Cyril’s effort was commended by Sabah State Library director Wong Vui Yin, who said the book would help preserve the literary heritage of Sabah.

“The significance of this is very great. Not many people nowadays write books or can put their thought to paper. This book is a great effort that documented a part of history through the writer’s experiences,” he said.

BY FIQAH ROSLAN.

Read more @ https://www.theborneopost.com/2019/05/29/writer-commemorates-fathers-life-childhood-with-book/

Tanjung Aru library opens for business

Wednesday, April 3rd, 2019

Library1

Yusof with Wong touring the book shelves at the library.

KOTA KINABALU: The spanking new five-storey Tanjung Aru Sabah State Library is opened for business. The library opens from 9am to 9pm daily.

Minister of Education and Innovation Datuk Dr. Yusof Yacob asserted that the iconic library which is under the purview of the ministry would become a source of knowledge for people of all ages.

With state-of-the-art facilities provided in the library, he hoped it would bring great benefit to the people.

“We hope the facilities here will stimulate the maturity and knowledge-seeking process for people of Sabah, not only adults but children as well.

“This is our target in the ministry – to encourage the public and students, regardless of their age, to make use of the facilities here as a source of knowledge.

“We hope it will be beneficial,” he said when visiting the library yesterday.

The 62,000 sq feet building consists of several sections for children, teenagers and adults, and offers facilities such as a multipurpose room, children play area, music studio, Petrosains makers’ room, and a giant hammock to create fun and easy environment.

It is also equipped with Wi-Fi and can accommodate up to 1,000 visitors at one time, with over 100 parking lots provided.

Set up on a three-acre land, the RM40 million building was developed as part of a corporate social responsibility programme by the Lahad Datu Water Supply Sdn Bhd and Sabah Development Bank which contributed RM20 million each.

The Sabah government had allocated RM8 million for the interiors and RM1.6 million for infrastructures. Also present yesterday were assistant ministers Jenifer Lasimbang and Mohammad Mohamarin, and State Library director Wong Vui Yin.

According to Yusof, the official opening ceremony of the library will be held on April 23, in conjunction with the sabah-level Reading Campaign 2019.

By DK RYNI QAREENA

Read more @ http://www.newsabahtimes.com.my/nstweb/fullstory/30210