Learn Chinese With Sing Chu Chinese Storytelling
Sing Chu Chinese Storytelling’s volunteers spare no effort in bringing Chinese stories to the children at various libraries every month!
Around 60 children were seated in the children’s book area of the library, their attention drawn to the lady in front of them, who was telling Chinese stories with her varying tones and animated gestures. Then, there was the occasional pop quiz when everyone enthusiastically raised their hands for the chance to answer the question for a prize.
“The children were all eagerly raising their hands,” volunteer storyteller See Yanhong chuckled as she recalled some of her memorable storytelling moments. “Some had not even thought about the answer and could only smile shyly when selected, as if asking for help.” Having joined Sing Chu Chinese Storytelling in 2015 as part of the first batch of volunteers, the housewife said she would tell stories to her two children at home to develop their habit of reading. “I stumbled upon a volunteer recruiting post one day, and decided that I wanted to share my ‘daily activities’ with more children.”
Singapore’s Chou Sing Chu Foundation launched Sing Chu Chinese Storytelling in 2015 to promote reading and encourage young children to learn Chinese. To date, more than 300 of these free sessions have been organised, and the “Children Storytelling Family” now boasts more than 100 volunteer storytellers. Not resting on our laurels, regular recruitment drives are still being conducted from time to time to look for Chinese storytelling talents. Training is provided to all new volunteers to enable them to make the storytelling sessions livelier, and to portray the stories’ content more accurately. Currently, the volunteers conduct one or two storytelling sessions at six libraries every month. These six libraries are: Toa Payoh Public Library, Tampines Regional Library, Yishun Public Library, Bukit Panjang Public Library, Sengkang Public Library, and Clementi Public Library.
The Invaluable Storytelling Sessions
“I have been a happier person since becoming a volunteer storyteller,” revealed Zhao Haiping, a Chinese teacher who joined the Children Storytelling Family in 2016. She is especially touched when she sees the familiar cute faces at the storytelling sessions, as well as the parents who insist on making time for their children to attend. “My biggest sense of accomplishment comes when parents bring along their children to thank me at the end of a storytelling event.”
Both volunteers agreed that storytelling is one of the most effective methods of promoting the learning of Chinese, as it is a fun activity that can arouse the curiosity of young children to take an interest in Chinese. Zhao Haiping believes that many parents are unable to tell their children Chinese stories as they lack the language proficiency, or simply do not have the time. “Chou Sing Chu Foundation’s Chinese storytelling sessions fill this void perfectly, providing an invaluable free event throughout the year that will help to make more children like Chinese,” she said. Likewise, See Yanhong pointed out that Chinese stories are usually entertaining, yet informative and educational. Hence, storytelling can not only cultivate children’s interest in learning Chinese, it can also instil good values like filial piety, honesty and self-discipline. Furthermore, the pop quizzes interspersed throughout the storytelling can encourage young children to think in Chinese, and enhance their confidence in mastering the language.
Sing Chu Chinese Storytelling will enter into its sixth year in 2020. As we continue recruiting new volunteers, we are also expanding our story depository to bring an even more diverse and interesting experience to the children, whilst continuing to promote learning Chinese.