Reading books for leisure, more than any other academic activity, was not only the most rewarding but also served me the best as a student growing up in Nepal.
I got into reading English books and novels partly because I realized I had to be good in English to realise my dream of going to the United States for further education. It also helped that our North-American English teachers required us to read books for leisure and write book reports even as elementary (primary) school students! After moving to secondary school, I also developed a bit of an obsession with reading!
Moving to secondary school, interest in novels changed from Hardy Boys to the worlds of mystery, thrillers and detective stories…worlds woven by writers such as Alistair Maclean, Robert Ludlum etc.
It’s partly because of that I am fully supportive of COMMITTED’s effort to fund libraries at schools we work with. It’s also for the same reason that I have raised my little nephew reading to him! As a matter of fact, COMMITTED had successfully helped both the school in Kathmandu valley we work with and all five schools in Thangpalkot acquire libraries!
Along with the library, COMMITTED also instituted the Star Reader program to further encourage children in Thangpalkot to develop an interest in reading, just as had happened to Jayjeev and I when we had been elementary (primary) school students at.
Unfortunately, all the schools in Thangpalkot except one lost their libraries to the earthquake. But, to ensure that doesn’t stop any child from reading and writing, COMMITTED has provided continuity to Star Reader program as well as introducing the Star Writer program. What’s more, the school reconstruction plans include library space.
The Star Reader program this time is administered not only to the student of Raithane, Chilaune and Taltuleshwori Schools, but also to the teachers. Parents, are also encouraged to participate. With the assistance of a librarian and a coordinator, all students are encouraged to check out reading books. A star is awarded for every book read. At the end of the program, children with the highest number of books read from a class and from the school will be awarded prizes, just as they have been in the past. For record keeping, a computer will also be provided.
Since most library books were also destroyed, 3000 additional books have been provided for the Reader program.
The Star Writer program seeks to develop their writing skills. All children from 5th to 10th grades are provided a specific story book for the purpose. They are required to complete a book report with guidance from the English teacher. They’ll be expected to complete two reports per year.
Before the earthquake, the libraries were very very popular. My hope is that the children of Thangpalkot will continue to read and be inspired by the amazing worlds books and stories describe, just as they did me!