The digital world is fun, but it also poses several risks to our children such as cyberbullying.

The cybugs that live among us.

In the third instalment of The Plano Adventures, Attack of the Cybugs, Zed and Zee encounter nasty cybugs who taunt and criticize The Clear Vision Recipe. Their harsh words emotionally wound the boys and scare them.

These cybugs don’t live in storybooks alone though, they live among us and behind digital screens: cyberbullies. In today’s digital age, it’s not uncommon to find online bullies who hide behind a screen of anonymity. They may hurl unpleasant and unwarranted criticisms at innocent users without a care about the potential implications because they believe they won’t be found.However, the reality is that these bullies may be closer than we think. Cyberbullying is sadly becoming a common phenomenon now, especially, and unfortunately, in schools. According to a survey done in Singapore, 3 in 4 students have admitted to being victims of cyberbullying, and 89% have reported to have taken no action against their perpetrators.

Take back your power.

Not all hope is lost though. Just like how the Clear Vision Recipe states that we should use ‘MyPower’ to help ourselves, there are measures that you can take to protect your child from cyberbullying. At the same time, your child should not be afraid to inform an adult about the bullying. At the end of the day, your child needs to be protected from falling prey to these bullies. In the unfortunate scenario that they become victims, it is critical to give them a safe and open space to talk about their feelings candidly.

Attack of the Cybugs is an important story that warns about the risks that the internet may pose. In spite of the convenience and fun that the internet may offer, it is also important to be aware of the dangers and understand how we can shield ourselves from them. The book also teaches us how to stand up to the bullies we may face and take back our own power.

If you would like to purchase Attack of the Cybugs, or any of the other 4 books in the series, you may find them in Singapore at Kinokuniya, Times Bookstores, and at Popular. Alternatively, buy them online on Amazon or Book Depository.  

You’ve probably heard about our fifth installment of The Plano Adventures Series, Out of Order, and here’s why the book is extremely relatable in this day and age.

Everything runs on machines.

This probably sounds familiar to you. Every other day, there’s a new application or new machine invented in the hopes of making our lives more seamless – new applications to help you make a reservation at a restaurant, or to make payment; new devices to play games or watch movies (think Virtual Reality). Even on messaging platforms, there are ‘chatbots’ that exist to answer queries from you at any time. Technology is here to stay – it’s sleek, cool, innovative, even alluring, and sometimes revolutionary. But as the old adage goes, too much of a good thing can be bad.

Getting our screen time in order.

In Out of Order, the robots decide they need a break after realising they’ve been overworked by humans. At the same time, the humans are glued to their screens. While our gaming applications or ‘chatbots’ may not literally take a break and call in their annual leave, it is likely that we are relying too much on them.

There’s a segment in Out of Order where a husband and wife were desperately trying to contact each other over text message despite being beside each other. They could have easily turned to their sides and talked to each other, yet they didn’t.

While this may be an exaggeration, when was the last time we put down our devices to actually connect with one another? Recently, I was at the local park, and I expected to see the usual – joggers (seen), picnic-goers (seen), and children playing (seen, but with their phones instead). While I wouldn’t go so far to say it was a total nightmare, a part of me did wish their phones were, well, out of order.

This is why the fifth book of The Plano Adventures, Out of Order, is especially relevant today. Technology is helpful and it does make our lives more convenient, there’s no denying that. But it’s our relationship with technology that we have to monitor. Our applications and devices may not go on strike out of their own free will anytime soon, but it’s our responsibility to take a break from them every now and then. An over reliance on our devices can lead to a negative impact on our eye health which could heighten the progression of myopia and other ailments.

If you enjoyed reading Out of Order, please vote for us for the Popular Readers Choice Awards 2019 at Voting is only open to Singaporeans and Permanent Residents of Singapore.

Should you like to buy a copy of Out of Order, or other books of The Plano Adventures series, you can buy them in Singapore at Kinokuniya, Times Bookstores, and Popular. For international orders, you can buy them online at Amazon or Book Depository.

Tried all the conventional methods like getting their favourite book to read, or setting aside reading time before bed and still no help? Here are 4 unique ways to inspire your child to read.

4 cool new ways to encourage reading

1. Organise a book swap.

Including some friends over for a book swap is an interesting way to get your child curious about new books and expand their library. Invite some of your child’s closest friends over for a book party and ask them to bring along their favourite books. Label each book with a number, place those same numbers in a hat, and get each child to pick out a number which will correspond to one book. That book will be the book they get to borrow!

2. Play book-based games.

There are many board games out there that are based on books – The famous Harry Potter series is one of them. The best-selling book series, The Plano Adventures has a game you can play with your child too. In all 5 books of the series, you and your child can act out the steps of the Clear Vision Recipe of the book. The recipe aims to educate its young readers steps they can take to safeguard their eyesight. It’s a fun and interactive way to engage your child with the story, and to remember the healthy eye care tips too.

Granted however, not all books come with games so you can always create your own game. For instance, you could build an indoor obstacle course of their favourite adventure-based book and dress them up in their favourite character’s outfit. Alternatively, you and your child could make playdough or cardboard models of his/her favourite characters from their favourite book and make a story and adventure out of them. 

3. Create reading challenges.

Rewards are always the best incentives. Try making a reading stamp book for your child – for every book he/she finishes reading, your child earns a stamp. If they accumulate, say, 10 stamps, they can redeem those stamps for a reward. These rewards can come in the form of a trip to the zoo or the cinema.

4. Meet the author.

Look out for meet-and-greet, or reading sessions with the author of your children’s favourite books. It’s a great reading incentive for your child as nothing compares to meeting their favourite authors, or people they look up to. In fact, here at plano, we organise fun and interactive reading sessions of The Plano Adventures Series with children with the authors, Hwee Goh and Mo Dirani. Want to know what a reading session of The Plano Adventures is like? Check out our video reel here!

The Plano Adventures is a science-based children’s book series that brings your child on a wondrous journey through Professor Plano’s world with the aim of teaching young readers the importance of taking care of their eyes. These reading sessions are packed with fun-filled activities related to the The Plano Adventures Series, and at the same time, the authors teach children about the importance of developing good eye care habits. You can buy the whole set of 5 books in Singapore at Kinokuniya, Times Bookstores, and at Popular. Alternatively, buy them online on Amazon or Book Depository.

Reading together with your young child can be a rewarding experience. But how can we, as parents, read aloud effectively to our children?

To read to a kid, you have to be a kid.

Does your child feel bored reading alone? Perhaps you could try reading together – if your child is between the ages of 0-5, it’s a great time to teach them how to read! More importantly, it’s the prime age to start reading aloud to them. Here are some tips on how to read aloud to your child, and why it’s good to read aloud to them too:

1. Read with enthusiasm

It’s okay to sound a little silly when reading with your kiddos. In fact, the more enthusiastic you are, the more engaged your children will be. After all, happiness is catching and if you seem to enjoy reading aloud, so will your child. So, use various tones and rhythms from your voice, put on a different accent for different characters, make it fun for your child.

2. Don’t just focus on the words

Your child’s attention will probably wander to the pictures on the side. Well, as they say, a picture is worth a thousand words, so when you’re reading a book, be sure to pay attention to the illustrations on the side too. Gesture to the pictures and engage your child with them; ask them questions about what they see and what they think. Ask them for their opinions on the picture. This keeps junior interested and excited for the rest of the book.

3. Pick a child-friendly book

So what makes a good children’s book for young readers? A good storyline is always a must to sustain their attention. Get a book with plenty of nice illustrations for your child to look at, and simple words that they can easily understand. The Plano Adventures is an adventure-filled children’s book, but with a simple storyline. The reader is taken on a journey with Professor Plano and his two friends, Zed and Zee. Through these adventures, the reader learns about the importance of protecting their eyesight, and even the dangers of cyberbullying. The series contains 5 books to date and you can buy the whole set of 5 books in Singapore at Kinokuniya, Times Bookstores, and at Popular. Alternatively, buy them online at Amazon or at Book Depository.

Beyond vocabulary expansion, your child can benefit more from reading than he/she knows. Here are 5 more benefits to reading that you may not have known about:

More than meets the eye.

Reading’s just identifying at a bunch of words scrawled on to a page right? What’s so good about that? Well, beyond just being able to recognise words, reading has numerous cognitive and psychological benefits that can help your child:

1. Improved concentration

It’s a crazy digital world out there, and with so many bits of information coming our way at lightspeed, our attention is often divided. For your child, it may be no surprise that within a single 5-minute duration, he/she could swipe through their social media, chat with their friends on messaging platforms, and watch a short video. This behaviour often decreases their attention span, and lowers their productivity. Reading a book however, streamlines their attention on a single activity; a single story. Especially if it’s a book that your child is absorbed in, reading can transport them to an entirely different world. Getting your child to read just 30 minutes a day can improve their concentration tremendously and you might be surprised by how focused they can be.

2. Reduced stress levels

If your child is stressed from school, cosying up to their favourite book can help them to relax. Losing themselves in a great story can help them forget about their stress (momentarily). In fact, according to researchers from the University of Sussex, they found that reading a book for only 6 minutes helped to reduce stress levels by 68% as compared to taking a walk (42%), or listening to music (61%). The authors reported that being completely distracted (even for awhile), can help relieve stress and calm oneself.

3. Mental stimulation

The brain is a muscle, and just like any muscle group, we have to work it to strengthen it. Reading helps to keep the brain mentally stimulated which therefore strengthens the brain. Keeping the brain active and engaged in mentally stimulating activities helps keep your child’s brain cognitively stimulated which helps to improve and protect memory functions.

4. Strong analytical skills

Once your child gets well acquainted with reading, chances are, they will develop the ability to analyse plots and compare them with other books they have read before. They begin to formulate their own views to determine whether they thought it was a well-written piece or not; they begin to form opinions on the characters and the storyline. What’s better is if you, as a parent, join in the fun and discuss the book with them. Varying opinions can help hone their analytical skills and critical thinking.

5. Knowledge and perspective

Reading can present your child new knowledge and a new perspective of the world they had never seen or thought about before. Everything your child reads will fill their head with new bites of information that will stay with them. Moreover, it presents a new point of view that your child may not have known before. An added bonus is if the story is told in a fun manner while imparting new information to your child. The Plano Adventures tells the story of Professor Plano and his two friends, Zed and Zee. The trio go on journeys into the unknown to thwart the evil Lord Myopia. Through their exhilarating adventures, The Plano Adventures teaches its young readers about the adverse effects of excessive device use in this digital world. There are 5 books in the series, and each book has a specific theme; from protecting your eyesight to prevent myopia from progressing, to the damaging effects of cyberbullying. You can buy the whole set of 5 books in Singapore at Kinokuniya, Times Bookstores, and at Popular. Alternatively, buy them online on Amazon or on Book Depository.

Reading is a timeless hobby and can be done anywhere at any time. But for most children nowadays, they’d rather choose the latest mobile game than pick up a book to read. However, the benefits of reading are aplenty such as vocabulary expansion and memory and concentration improvement. Here are some tips to get your child to read more.

Lead them to the books

When your child reads a book, they enter a portal of adventure and imagination. Opening up a fresh new book is equivalent to opening your child to a whole new world. But children sometimes feel the inertia to even pick up a book, and as much as we want to develop the habit of reading in our children, it can admittedly be a challenge sometimes. Here are some tips that may help your child read more books:

1. Let them have a say

How many times have we gone to a bookstore and when our child finally picks something they would like to read, we reply, “pick something else”. It’s an all too common scenario because we’d like our children to have a wide variety of books. However, in saying so, it takes the fun out of reading for your child. If your child is forced to read something that vaguely interests them or does not pique their interest, they tend to see reading as a chore rather than an enjoyable pastime. Letting them have a say in their choices gives them a sense of ownership and joy in making their own decisions.

2. Build conversations

Reading together with your child can be a rewarding experience. However, you don’t always have to do this in the same room. Take an interest in your child’s favourite books and carve out the time to read them either on your own, or snuggled up together with your child. Be a part of your child’s world and create a conversation around those books. That way, you not only get to bond with your child, but also make reading a social activity where you can build connections outside the books.

3. Let them re-read

If your child gravitates to a particular author or book, don’t stop them from re-reading it. While we want our children to experience reading a variety of books, sometimes we can’t help it if our child wants to read the same book 10 times. Begrudging your child for re-visiting their favourite tales and stories can be discouraging to them. Rather, embrace their passion for a particular book. In fact, re-visiting an old book will help them to absorb the language better and attune themselves to the book’s storyline and major ideas.

4. Get a book with a good learning point 

Books can play a huge role in your child’s childhood and it can be a great escape for them. Give them a good book they like and they’re sure to lose themselves on an imaginary adventure, and it’ll be twice the fun if you join in as well. It’s even better if the book contains a good learning point to teach your child important life lessons as well. Bring your child on an adventure through professor Plano’s world in The Plano Adventures! The Plano Adventures is a science-based children’s book series that brings your child on a wondrous journey through Professor Plano’s world with the aim of teaching young readers the importance of taking care of their eyes. You can buy the whole set of 5 books in Singapore at Kinokuniya, Times Bookstores, and at Popular. Alternatively, buy them online on Amazon or on Book Depository

On their way to Rainbow’s Edge to seek the help of the Ray Keepers, Professor Plano, Zed and Zee meet a flight of sickly, grey dragons. They’re all caught up using their Bottle-Bottle screens that give off a strange, eerie glow. Lord Myopic must be up to no good again! The trio rush to find the Ray Keepers to save the dragons, but are they too late?

Something is very wrong in Nettown. The playgrounds are empty and there is no one in sight. Warned by the blazing red glow on his Orb, Professor Plano, Zed and Zee investigate. They find that Lord Myopic has created a massive game that every kid on the block keeps playing and playing…and playing. One of the twins gets caught up in this web! What will they do?

The Wood Wide Web is a ghost town. No one goes out or talks to each other, and the children hide in their tree houses all day long. Professor Plano, Zed and Zee get there to find that Cybugs have infested the town. They text trash, send nasty notes and dislike everything in sight. Is Lord Myopic behind this? The trio need to hurry to help their new friends, but how? Professor Plano, Zed and Zee get there to find that Cybugs have infested the town. They text trash, send nasty notes and dislike everything in sight. Is Lord Myopic behind this? The trio need to hurry to help their new friends, but how?

Professor Plano, Zed and Zee are on Lord Myopic’s trail! They have arrived in Lord Myopic’s dreamworld – a city where everything runs on machines. People talk to each other only on their devices, and the town is run by robots… until the robots go on strike. Devices need a break too! The people are lost, and the trio need to figure out how to help them get out of this tangle.