READING is among the most power tools in becoming literate. Literacy skills develop from our ability to understand spoken words and written texts.
Being a professor of language and communication, I understand how significant is reading to individuals who would want to become literate.
Many of the researches I’ve read show that children who love to read have greater chances to perform well in school.
As a Muslim, I am also reminded that the first verse given to our prophet was ‘Iqra bismi rabbih’ which literally means ‘Read in the name of thy Lord!’
It is therefore inherent to every Muslim to find time to read in order to understand life in general.
Because of these ideas in mind, I can’t help but be motivated to create a project that will give children from far-flung areas of Marawi City and Lanao to have the chance to access good books that will encourage them to become good readers.
Through my family’s humble initiative, we have created the first of its kind project for the communities here in Marawi City. We named the project, Soar High Mobile Library to the Barrios.
In this project, we have envisioned to reach at least twenty communities per year to experience the collection of books that we intend to bring to each barrio on a regular basis.
This project shall literally transport the collection of books from the Soar High Knowledge Center to the different Barrios in Marawi and Lanao del Sur in order for children, teens and even adults in those far flung areas to experience quality books from different publications.
With the support of friends from different institutions and walks of life, our center was able to put up a collection of books that will definitely enhance the love of reading among learners.
Since the Soar High Knowledge Center has educational support system, it extends its service in the Mobile library program with different sets of learning activities. Some of these are:
1. Reading comprehension development activities;
2. Art appreciation and creation activities (e.g. drawing and coloring);
3. Writing seminars;
4. Storytelling sessions;
5. Mathematical and Science skills development activities;
6. Religious and Cultural Values formation lectures.
Through the above additional activities along with the mobile library, learners become more appreciative on what reading can do to enhance literacy skills.
In the recent mobile library program we had at Nanapun, Cabasaran, Marawi City, a thirty-minute drive from the city center, we have seen how difficult it is for the children to have access to non-text book materials.
The barrio has an elementary school but their library has limited collections only.
Children in the community never had the chance to see big illustrated books that can encourage them to love reading.
Further, educational magazines and hard cover books attracted them to read further.
As a motivation, we requested teenage readers to summarize the ideas learned from magazine sections or book chapters read.
This way, we enhance reading comprehension and summary skills.
Indeed, the mobile library became our way to contribute to the enhancement of literacy. It is our gift to our society.
It may be a small initiative but we hope to reach many learners.
I still believe in what researchers say about the benefits of reading.
According to one reading specialist, “Reading teaches children about the world around them. Through reading, they learn about people, places and events outside their own experience. They are exposed to ways of life, ideas and beliefs about the world which may be different from those which surround them.”
With this, our initiative hopes to be the gift for our learners to have wider horizons and to start hoping for a better world ahead of them.
(Prof. Sorhaila Latip-Yusoph is currently the chairperson of the Communication and Media Department, Mindanao State University, Marawi City.)