Helping infants take baby steps towards literacy

Danial Norjidi

The Early Literacy Pack 2019 presentation ceremony was held at the Al-’Afiah Hall of the Ministry of Health (MoH) yesterday.

Yesterday marked the sixth edition of the annual event, organised by the Language and Literature Bureau (DBP) in collaboration with the MoH, Ministry of Education (MoE), Ministry of Religious Affairs (MoRA) and Ministry of Home Affairs (MoHA).

A total of 375 infants born in Brunei Darussalam in the month of February 2019 were selected to receive the early literacy packs, including 278 from Brunei-Muara, 34 from Tutong, 55 from Belait and eight from Temburong districts.

The packs containing a number of books such as those on recognising letters and numbers appropriate for infants were given free-of-charge.

Permanent Secretary (Strategy Management and Policy) at the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports Datin Paduka Dr Hajah Norlila binti Dato Paduka Haji Abdul Jalil attended as the guest of honour and presented the packs to the recipients.

According to a press release, the objective of the programme is to support the titah of His Majesty Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Mu’izzaddin Waddaulah ibni Al-Marhum Sultan Haji Omar ‘Ali Saifuddien Sa’adul Khairi Waddien, Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam, as well as the sabda of His Royal Highness Prince Haji Al-Muhtadee Billah ibni His Majesty Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Mu’izzaddin Waddaulah, the Crown Prince and Senior Minister at the Prime Minister’s Office, on the importance of basic skills such as reading, writing and counting in producing a society that is knowledgeable, informed, of quality and competitive.

Permanent Secretary (Strategy Management and Policy) at the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports Datin Paduka Dr Hajah Norlila binti Dato Paduka Haji Abdul Jalil presents an Early Literacy Pack to a recipient. PHOTO: DANIAL NORJIDI

The initiative aims to open minds and create awareness among parents and other family members on the importance of reading from an early age; increase a reading culture among children, parents and family institutions as well as support the Brunei Vision 2035; provide education to parents on methods of reading to their infant children; and produce a generation of intellects and visionaries in all fields.

It also aims to encourage and instil a desire to read and provide early exposure with the selection of reading material; diversify methods of strengthening reading culture; and foster a community culture of reading and enjoying libraries.

The chairperson of the event’s organising committee Hajah Noreidah binti Haji Ibrahim said, “The Early Literacy Programme is an initiative of the DBP in strengthening a culture of reading especially for infants.”

“An interest in reading should be nurtured early especially for children to love books and other reading materials. Children who are always surrounded by books will not feel uncomfortable. Likewise, children who learn to read early are often more advanced and able to compete with their peers when they enter school.”

“Parents who read together with their children will be able to enhance the children’s basic skills in reading, writing and counting,” she said.

“A culture of reading should be instilled starting from home. Any reading materials, be they books or other media resources, are a starting point towards interest in reading.”

She added that, with copious reading, positive values can be absorbed and mind development can be achieved.