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PIA Press Release
2008/10/28

Commentary: Spread the love of reading

By Cristina Arzadon

Laoag City (28 October) -- Ask any school-age children who Ninoy Aquino is and most of them would stare at you blankly. But ask who Betty Lafeya is, they would even tell you who the love of her life is.

That the children's awareness on important events continues to decline at an alarming level is not entirely their fault. They grew up in an environment where instead of leafing through the pages of the book, they merely click the mouse and a variety of materials is spread before their eyes in living colors. Various media forms also compete for kids' attention. The most pervasive being the television. Of course, the ubiquitous mobile phone has its own audience share.

In fact, doomsayers have it that it is just a matter of time before newspapers are obliterated from the face of the earth because newspaper readership has been rapidly shrinking through the years. The poor performance of schoolchildren in the nationwide achievement test has been the norm rather than the exception.

But those who share the love for the written word refuse to wave the white flag in their effort to promote the love of reading.

In Laoag for example, City Mayor Michael Fariņas has his own story-telling sessions with select schoolchildren every time he marks his birth anniversary. The program dubbed as "Teacher ko si Mayor" inspires kids to make reading a habit. The story-telling session has been institutionalized since the mayor assumed post in 2004.

Elsewhere, the local government of San Nicolas recently launched the search for the most well-informed students among grade school and high school students to promote newspaper reading among children in public schools.

San Nicolas Mayor Alfredo Valdez, Jr. has asked the support of retired teachers to implement the program that started last August and would end in December. The selection of the best-informed students would be done through a written test of newspaper materials that the children have read from the papers during the three-month period.

These little but important steps deserve to be replicated if we want to save this generation from falling into the trap of getting things done the quickest and easiest possible ways. While there is nothing wrong in embracing technologies, this should not be at the expense of the future of our children whose guaranty to a better life remains to be a good education. The most enduring way to educate a child is as easy as reading ABCs. (PIA) [top]

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