(This article originally appeared in Blog Watch of the Philippine Online Chronicles on November 26, 2014)
It’s almost the end of November. Do you know that through Memorandum No. 244, the month of November was declared as the National Reading Month by the Department of Education (DepEd)? Secretary Armin Luistro signed it in 2011 and it is celebrated to promote the Filipinos’ love for reading and in support of the 10-point education agenda of the Aquino Administration and the promotion of Every Child a Reader Program (ECARP).
In line with this, “Araw ng Pagbasa” (National Reading Day) was designated every 27th of November through Republic Act 10556. It aims to promote reading and literacy, motivate awareness and uphold our Filipino heritage and culture including educational activities focusing on the life of former Senator Benigno “Ninoy” Aquino Jr. That day is incidentally his birth anniversary.
In a nation with over 95% literacy rate, I wonder how many are actively reading books nowadays. I remember when I was in grade school, I used to be a library rat along with a handful of friends. The habit of reading books stuck with me until high school when my best friend and I would camp in an isolated alley of the library after hunting for books to read. When the classes got boring, we would read in class with our books hidden from the teacher’s view. The habit has not left me even after those youthful years.
A school in Tagum City called Bridges Academy lets their grade school students bring a book from the library to read at home everyday. I’ve never seen children’s faces light up at the sight of books the way they light up at the sight of candy and ice cream. The habit from school inculcated in the minds of those students would surely stay with them until they grow old. Perhaps Margaret Fuller, a 19th century American journalist and activist was right when she wrote that a reader today could be a leader of tomorrow as those children may one day be.
The advent of the computer and the World Wide Web offered a different array of opportunities for readers. The influx of laptops, tablets, android phones and a score of other gadgets flooding the market could encourage people, young and old alike, to read. Or not to read, as these are more often than not used for social media and entertainment. Only the handful serious ones, millions still though, take to this modern technology as means of gathering information.
I have recently deleted my Facebook account. (Please read “Confessions of a Facebook Junkie) I may have closed my doors on this popular social medium but I have re-opened lots of windows of opportunities to read books once more. In less than a couple of months, I have attacked seven books of various genres. I know, with proper time management, I could have done the same thing even with social media on the side but I have to admit the lure of those red notification marks was greater than the seduction of those volumes with invisible puppy eyes pleading “Pick me up, please!”
Please read the rest of the article in Do Not READ! (So many books, so little time).