Little Red Dot packs a punch - Jan 06, 2009 (ST)

BackJan 06, 2009

The Straits Times / The Business Times News On SPH

Little Red Dot packs a punch

ST's revamped weekly for primary school pupils promises fun approach to learning.

By Serene Goh
Jan 06, 2009
The Straits Times

PRIMARY school readers of The Straits Times this morning received an all-new version of their Tuesday magazine, Little Red Dot.

The original 16-page weekly publication, which was launched in 2005, uses news and current event articles in lessons for upper primary readers.

Its latest version, now with 20 pages, contains lessons and articles for lower primary readers as well.

Ms Bertha Henson, the magazine's supervising editor and Straits Times associate editor, said the decision to include content for lower primary pupils was made after repeated requests from many teachers.

'They want to use the publication to teach English and other subjects to the younger ones, the way they already do for upper primary pupils,' she said.

Teachers, especially, like the publication because it is tied closely to current affairs and the school curriculum.

Ms Henson called the publication 'a self-contained fun workbook of sorts, with quizzes, questions and puzzles to help pupils understand what they are reading and to strengthen their language skills'.

Rather than simplify the magazine, she said: 'We did not think we should short-change our current readers by amending the current content, so we decided to increase the number of pages instead.'

In the new Little Red Dot, readers will find key features, including visual cues, that indicate the learning level for each of its pages - for instance, one coloured star for foundation level content and up to three coloured stars for higher levels.

There is also an increased focus on national education. Singapore's historical sites and people who have made an impact are featured weekly in Big Changes and Big Heroes.

A weekly map of Singapore challenges young readers to learn about the island's different neighbourhoods, based on where news has broken.

Giant puzzles have been created by The Straits Times artists and will anchor the magazine's back page.

A new cast of characters - called the 'Dot Values Family' - has debuted, too.

They will appear throughout the magazine and encourage positive attitudes in young readers, such as helpfulness, responsibility and honesty.

The publication earned a 'Highly Commended' award from the Pacific Area Newspaper Publishers' Association in 2006, and currently reaches more than 50,000 readers islandwide in over 80 schools.

Its original features have been given a fresh new look for 2009 too.

These include a Big Story, which recounts historical news events; Big Outside, which features environmental news; Big Inside, about what happens inside a body; as well as Big Big World, a two-page spread of world news.

The new features are designed to be a must-have in the classroom and have been developed with input from teachers.

For all school subscription enquiries, please call The Straits Times' circulation department's Ms Theresa Ling on 6319-2166 or 6388-3838 or e-mail