This month marks the celebration of “Buwan ng Wika” (National Language Month), one of the yearly events we observed here in the Philippines for the entire month of August. The Buwan ng Wika celebration also highlights linguistic and cultural activities all over the country.In line with this, my incredible, amazing fellow Filipino book blogger, Shealea from That Bookshelf Bitch has organized the first ever Augvocacy entitled, “Fostering a Culture of Reading in the Philippines”.
What is Augvocacy if you may ask?
Essentially, Augvocacy aspires to bring together like-minded people in actively forwarding a particular advocacy. Held annually on the month of August, this project aims to forward a different, yet nonetheless important, agenda each year. (Read more here)
As one of the participating Augvocates, I am humbled to be a part of this wonderful project! So, this year my chosen topic is, “Raise a Reader, A Future Generation of Leaders”.
During an interview with the Augvocates, I have mentioned how even during the colonial times, reading is a weapon. It’s one of the most essential things that help us to get ahead in life. Whether we do it for learning or fun, reading has a great deal to our life’s successes.
It always starts on the early stages of a person’s development. I don’t exactly want to talk about parenting stuffs here but what I have today is the need of pointing out that we can raise a reader as early as now who would be prepared in all facets of life.
Have you ever heard the phrase “Leaders are readers”? Well, as history reminds us, from Rizal as Bibliophile to Bonifacio who grew up to be a voracious reader, it was evident that one of the most common shared interest leaders have is reading. But how do we exactly raise a reader to be leaders?
📘 Be a reader
Children mimic us 100% most of the time. They always love to do what they have seen from us. If you do not know yet, the little ones are the greatest imitator that ever walk on earth. So, if you want to raise a reader, show them that you are also a reader. Be the role model! Remember that setting as a good example equates to becoming a good leader and to be a leader means to be a good follower. If they see that you’re enjoying it, there’s no doubt that they will grow loving it.
Mae Respicio, debut author of the recently released middle-grade novel, The House That Lou Built, agreed and said, “If someone’s an avid reader they’re well on their way to becoming a leader. My advice is to keep them reading. Read aloud to your kids, read to them, set a reading routine—and let them see you enjoying books, too! That sets a foundation that books are valued. Reading challenges you in so many ways; understanding that words are powerful sets kids off on the right path for leadership.”
📘 Start them early
It’s normal that not everyone will love reading. In fact, most of us find it hard to read even the newspaper. That same goes with the young ones whose interests were a bit different. Therefore, instead of forcing reading into them, it is better if we find the patience to motivate them. That is why we have to start them early because no one is too young to dive into books. So, make it a habit, a hobby, until you can’t pry the books away from them. This way, they will have the foundation they need to develop a culture of reading.
📘 Choose the right books
Personally, I apply P.I.C.K (Purpose, Interest, Comprehension, and Know the Words) when selecting books for my kids. Introducing them with books that represent who they are—their race, heritage, culture, and history. Not only have we chosen books that will empower them but also would make them feel that they do belong. More so, would leave an imprint in their lives as they grow up, preparing them for the real world.
Debut middle-grade authors, Marie Miranda Cruz and Tanya Guerrero are just some of those authors that wrote books that represent us, Filipinos. When asked how we can raise a generation of readers to be leaders, they have both answered that choosing the right books is indeed important.
Marie, author of Everlasting Nora, said, “I believe we can raise a generation of readers to be leaders by giving kids books that nurture empathy toward their fellow human beings. Where there is empathy, there is a desire for progressive change within a community and beyond.”
While Tanya, who came from a multicultural background, pointed out the need for diverse books. When asked the same question, she said, “In my opinion, what is usually lacking from school reading lists is diversity. Children need to read stories by authors from around the world, and from all walks of life. This is the best way to teach compassion, and it’s compassion that will make our children become better future leaders. For me it’s particularly important to introduce #ownvoices books written by people from different cultures, especially those living in other countries other than the US and UK. Our children need to know that the world is a big place and that they need to be aware of what’s going on outside their own communities.”
She also shared how she doesn’t want to pressure her 8-year-old daughter, Violet, into reading specific topics especially now that she’s just only in the beginning stages of reading: “I want her to first learn to love reading, which I believe is a huge challenge in a society that is obsessed with gadgets. Once that love is established, then we as parents can begin to influence our children to read widely.”
📘 Don’t stop reading
It does not mean that when they already knew how to read, we will stop teaching them. I remember myself saying before that reading is the easiest thing we can pass to our kids besides our genes. Like any other process, reading is a continuous learning not only to children but also to us, adults. That being said, I don’t even think for one second that leaders ever stop being a reader.
How about you? In your own opinion, how can we raise a generation of readers to be leaders? Let me know in the comments below!
You love this Augvocacy? Interested joining next year? Oh! I bet you do. Go to That Bookshelf Bitch because she deserves all the love and please don’t forget that it’s her birthday this month!
Don’t forget to check the full schedule and visit these wonderful Augvocates to learn more about #Augvocacy2018.
— Event launch on That Bookshelf BitchAugust 2
— Gail D. Villanueva (Author)
— Shealea (That Bookshelf Bitch)
— JM (Book Freak Revelations)
— Erica (Living a Hundred Lives)
— Erika (The Nocturnal Fey)
— Danielle (Guest on That Bookshelf Bitch)
— Justine (Bookish Wisps)
— Nicay (The Nerdy Side of a Queen)
— Shaira (Guest on That Bookshelf Bitch)
— Paula (Perks Be With You)
— Shannel (Rambles of a Reader)
— Alexia (The Bookworm Daydreamer)
— Cha (The Literary Siren)
— KB (Bookbed)
— Bianca (The Ultimate Fangirl)
— Inah (The Bibliophile Confessions)
— Ynnah (The Youngvamp’s Haven)
— Rosemarie (Wanders Between Pages)
— Aimee (Aimee, Always)
— Mari (Andico Mari)
— Patricia (Book Geek Musings)
— Shaine (Wanderer in Neverland)
— Kate (The Backwards Bookshelf)
— Kess Costales (Aspiring author)
— Event recap and highlights on That Bookshelf Bitch
Prize: Paperback copy of The Land of Forgotten Girls by Erin Entrada Kelly
Winners: Two (2) — one Filipino winner, one INT’L winner (provided that Book Depository ships to their country)
Duration: August 1st (12 mn) to September 1st (12 mn)