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Old 03-08-2005, 02:02 PM
***aCe*** ***aCe*** is offline
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Does Story telling really helps for reading?

Story Telling helps for Reading....

By Dr. Thomas Webster

August 1 to 5 is National Book Week. We must remind ourselves of the important role that books, and reading, play in our everyday lives and the need to promote reading and literacy in Papua New Guinea.
Since the invention of the printing press, which made it possible to print multiple copies of books, reading materials have played a very influential role in learning development.

Books contain many kinds of knowledge, instruction and stories and one can read books for information, business, work, or simply for pleasure. Information can be collated, accessed, debated and then built upon to advance our knowledge.

Networked computers provide opportunities for people who have a computer to access information that is hosted by another computer, through the internet. A wide variety and enormous volume of information is available and there are search tools that can help us to find the information that we require.

Faced with high blood pressure, I searched through the internet for information on what it is and what I needed to do to reduce the risk of heart failure.

I am now able to better understand my doctor’s advice and can even pursue other treatment options. Many specialist doctors have written on the subject and I have read this material, which is available on the World Wide Web.
However, in order to access information from books or from networked computers, one must be able to read. Reading skills cannot just be implanted. They need to be developed and nurtured.

Reading is important for personal development as well as for the collective development of our society.

Therefore, the promotion of reading and books is everyone’s business.
National Book Week provides the opportunity for everyone to do just that.
First and foremost, we need to instil in our young people a love and passion for reading. Young people will not do well in their studies unless they develop reading skills, and even more, a passion for reading.

Children love stories. Their interest in reading and in books can be nurtured initially through storytelling and then, having generated their interest, allow them to read for themselves.

Schools do just that with teachers telling stories in class and then allowing the children to read for themselves in the school library.
Unfortunately, libraries are not a priority for most school administrators and for the Government.

Most schools do not have a library. Some may have a library building or a room but they do not have a regular budget to enable them to replenish and update books and reading materials.

There used to be provincial libraries around the country. However, since the responsibility for them was transferred to provincial authorities, they have either closed or are so run down that no-one uses them anymore.
Even the National Capital District has only one public library, which has limited space and only a small collection of books.

The National Government needs to look seriously at the development of libraries as a medium to promote reading and for people to access information for development.

Families can promote reading by regularly buying a book or a magazine for their young children.
Reading, as a family pastime, will encourage the young to read. If children see their parents reading, then they will also pick up something to read. If parents don’t promote reading, then it is very likely that their children will not develop a liking for reading.

I want to appeal to parents to give special attention to the reading needs of their daughters. Girls are often overworked, as many have to look after the house and the siblings and act like mothers. This can make girls too tired to do anything else.

Girls also need to develop as persons who must learn the necessary life-skills of reading and writing.
They must be given the time and space to acquire these skills. Above all, they must also have access to books, which often times are different to what boys might be interested in.
Books are expensive and we need to look at ways to reduce the prices and enable families to buy them.

One way to do this would be to get all government departments to write pamphlets and books which contain the information that is needed by the public at large for information and development. It may be a series of simple books which provide information on how to grow vegetables, how to look after your health, how to look after babies and so on.
Books can also be written to inform us how banks operate and how the telephone and the internet operates.

Many ordinary people in urban and rural communities do not know much about the world around them.
However, they could use these “booklets” to get information, and in most instances, apply that knowledge to improve their own lives.
Sometimes, people hear about something, but quickly forget. Simple handbooks can be written, and read again and again for information, as it is needed.

These simple publications can be mass produced, at low cost, and made available to a large number of people.
As more people buy books, the number printed can be increased and this will reduce the cost of the books.

By accessing such information, people will be able to improve themselves and empower their communities to collectively contribute to national development.
One must be literate before he or she can learn to read, understand the information that is presented and critically analyse the ideas and concepts in order to utilise the information.

Unfortunately, much of the population of Papua New Guinea is illiterate.
The 2000 National Census indicated that approximately 56 per cent of the population are literate; that means, 44 per cent of the population — more than two million people — are illiterate.

If current trends continue, the literacy rate is not likely to improve and the number of illiterate persons will increase. Even if the Education Reforms are fully implemented, under the Government’s new 10-year Education Plan, approximately 50 per cent of the population will still be illiterate in 2015.
More than 50 per cent of the children who enter Grade 1 at school do not complete the full primary school cycle.

Many of those children who “drop out” have not developed reading skills to an appropriate level for further development.
As is often argued in this column, we must have free and compulsory education at the primary level.

This will enable a large majority of the population to develop appropriate literacy skills in order to acquire reading skills and access information for development.

PNG must seriously consider the adoption of a policy of fee-free, compulsory primary education.

We, as ordinary citizens, can do a lot to promote literacy; that is reading and writing. We can influence and change the people around us by promoting reading in our families, our work places and among our friends.
On this occasion of the 2005 National Book Week, there is one thing that I would like to appeal to readers of this column to do — buy a book for a loved one.

Happy Reading.
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Last edited by ***aCe***; 03-08-2005 at 02:08 PM.
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