Why we all need to start reading aloud to our kids | Keisha Siriboe | TEDxWanChai

I'm just curious how many parents are in

this crowd with children between the

ages of zero to five clap hand raise

amen preach anything just let me know

who's here okay

we got a few parents in here now the

whole audience let's give them a round

of applause because being a parent it's

no small thing

and the reason why I have such a se

myself is like an ally and advocate for

parents because at this stage in my

academic career I am privileged to sit

on some high levels of education policy

globally I said on three different major

organizations and we're all looking at

this outcome how do we prepare children

to thrive in the future what does a

student in 2030 who's going to be at

this level in their academic career what

skills do they need to know and if

you're a parent that's a terrifying

question because whether we say it out

loud or not we don't really know what

education is going to look like in 2030

we are all putting together our best

educated guesses but technology is

rapidly changing there's a buzzword that

flows around 21st century skills have

you heard it it's like a selling phrase

on a lot of things 21st century skills

in education it's like a sexy word you

know like 21st century skills and you

automatically assume that I know

everything what I don't but here's the

thing what we're saying when we use to

turn 21st century skills we're trying to

provide you with our best educated

assumption on what education is going to

look like and what skills students need

to have to thrive in the future and if

you look at the World Economic Forum's

this is their review of lifelong

learning and these are the skill sets

they feel students need we have far more


under foundational literacies then

reading writing and arithmetic and for

the parents grandparents adults

stakeholders in the room if we're honest

with ourselves the education that we're

preparing children for is not the

education we received so we're all

learning at the same time but it doesn't

stop there

there we go from foundational literacies

to competencies and we start pulling in

skills like we moved past literacy to

digital literacy global competency now

we're thinking about critical thinking

skills and creativity and innovation

which are buzzwords within the larger

community in itself but then we move on

to character traits and if you look at

the OECD's education 2030 framework they

have designed 11 well-being areas I'm

going to pause so you can like look at

some of these notable suggestions these

are all areas we feel children should

have if they're going to do well in the

future as adults if you look at this how

many of these skills can you say you

know what in Hong Kong we are knocking

this out of the park like civic


you know we Rock 2014 you know we we we

gotta work we're clear on that housing

you know apartment hunting here is

enjoyable the landlords are the best

whoever my future landlord is I love you

don't raise my rich and the biggest one

work-life balance if anyone in the room

feels like you understand work/life

balance please let me know I'll try to

get you on stage next year because you

have a message Hong Kong really needs to

hear but for the parents who are in the

room and you know you're laughing along

but in the bit in the pit of your

stomach is this nervousness because

they're like you know what I really have

no idea how I'm gonna do this or how

much it's gonna cost me to get my child

of this skill set I am here to share

with you a research-based evidence

proven resource that is outstanding


reading aloud and parent-child reading

aloud between the ages of 0 to 5 and

even further but during these

foundational years it's a powerful thing

now unfortunately in Hong Kong a lot of

times when I say things about parents

our reading aloud I get parents that

hear me and they think ok I get my child

to the point where they can read and

then I envision them reading alone

reading very impressive books like

Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate

Events at the age of 6 you know because

we're we're hard achievers in Hong Kong

like I want to see them reading dense

books and loving it by themselves and I

want to say actually that's one outcome

but the power of parent-child reading

aloud it's more than just the skill it's

the bonding and if anyone has experience

being read to or reading to a child

there is something and I'm gonna use an

unscientific term to describe it it is

absolutely magical if you experienced

enjoying a story with a child but that

magic is not sprinkling through Hong

Kong the way I'd hope the theme for this

TEDx is emergence this was my moment of

emergence I was in 2014 I was starting

my doctoral research in Hong Kong on

early childhood literacy and you know I

told you a bit of who I am and I came in

after doing a master's in Beijing so I

already knew I already knew I wanted to

research this area and I knew I was

passionate about parent-child reading

aloud I'm like I'm gonna come to Hong

Kong and I heard about the refugee

situation so I'm like I'm gonna be the

Michelle Obama of this movement and I'm

gonna like help equality and all of that

it's gonna be awesome and then I found

out the rate of Hong Kong's engagement

in early childhood literacy activities

we were left guys we were left and I was

like and I had to make a decision I

decided right then and there I could

spend the next 4 years getting my

credentials and then addressing the

issue or I could drop my bucket right

where I was

and get involved in helping and that's

what I did I went to parents where they

were if you talk to parents and you ask

them why they don't engage they'll tell

you time so I went to the corporate

office I didn't stop there I went to to

the communities I went to the refugee

Asylum centers and I shared everything I

knew about effective early childhood

literacy and it boiled down to these

four things talk read sing play now if

you want to hear more you got to ask me

back because I'm down to like four

minutes but I will tell you a little bit

more about read if you can read at least

15 minutes a day the research says

that's the minimum amount of time you

need to invest in order to start seeing

some outcomes but I want to go beyond

just the 15 minutes I want to talk to

you about the power of reading in a way

that ties back into those 21st century

skills one foundational skill is global

competency the ability to collaborate

and work well with others technology has

made the world flat and there's a high

probability that in the future students

are going to work with students from

different parts of the world at earlier

and earlier stages what better way to

introduce them to the world

that through a children's book that

presents the child being a child

something they relate to and who better

to teach them that than by someone they

love more than anyone in this world the

parent in the safest place that should

be the safest place the home and if you

allow yourself to engage in this idea of

reading aloud with the child maybe we

can do something about this

the pearls stands for the progress and

international reading literacy study and

it's issued every five years 2011 was

the most recent cycle when I started as

of December 2017 they release the latest

results the 2016 pearls good news we

moved up two spots I've been looking at

the United States and England no no no

we're not higher than them they didn't

take the take-home survey so they're

just there to let you know like they

didn't participate we but we beat Macau

and we beat Morocco

you know whoo

we're on our way Hong Kong stories a bus

but I tell you this much in all

seriousness we got a great deal of work

to do we do and whether we are reading

aloud with our children engaging with

our children in loving ways or if we

feel like we're being absorbed into the

wider pressure of society that's trying

to make us think we need to be on the

cutting edge of every new class or every

new course our children are following in

our footsteps and this opportunity to be

in front of you is to let you know there

are people like myself who are

advocating for you who take issue with

the fact that you are dealing with a lot

of pressure financially socially to

raise children that meet this ideal

that's always changing but one thing

remains the same if you are willing to

set up a tradition of reading aloud with

your child creating a pathway of

storytelling which opens up conversation

you can build a bridge we don't know

what the world is going to look like but

if you have established a pattern of

reading aloud with your children talking

about civic events using that story time

to have conversation you can pull into

that into the future and when you notice

your child may be dealing with bullying

may be dealing with emotional issues

you can grab a storybook you can sit

down with that child and you can talk to

each other through a story you create a

space a dialogue and you remind them of

the pattern you already have so it's not

some new thing they already know this is

what we do so my call to action to you

all in another five years

another pearls exam will come forward

let's all come back with a story to tell

about how we built a bridge that

connects our children to a better