Friday, September 28, 2012

Catching the Reading Express

The American author Theodor Seuss Geisel, a.k.a Dr. Seuss, a renowned writer of children books once said “the more that you read, the more things you will know…”  As cliché as that may sound, I’m sure we can all agree there is an element of truth to it. Reading opens up the mind and broadens our imagination. It therefore was not a surprise when over 200 children were signed up to participate in the American Corner Abuja Summer Reading Program for children aged 5-13.

The Library table was filled with books of all kinds, spanning a broad range of topics:  the Underground Railroad, the United States Constitution, history of the White House, American singers, American sports legends, animal and plant life, mostly written in a language that children can understand.

It was refreshing watching the children hover around the table, eyes lit up with excitement, as they flipped through pages, book after book, in search of suitable material. While some of the students read the words out loud, others read the books quietly to themselves. There were also children who just enjoyed pointing out fascinating images in the picture books.

While a group of children were in the company of books in the library, there were also children engaged in spelling bee activities by the volunteers. The spelling bee tested the children on some of the vocabulary words they may have encountered in their reading. There was healthy competition as each child strived to out spell the other.

In the three weeks of the program, it was interesting to watch the children evolve. As days rolled by, the children who latched on to their mothers’ clothes on the opening day were seen waving their parents goodbye upon drop-off; the children who were too shy to say their name out loud were reading out loud to their mates; children who could not spell their names learned how to do so by the end of the program. 

The efforts of the children and volunteers were rewarded on the last day as the Deputy Chief of Mission brought the program to a close. The DCM, Mr. James P. McAnulty, read to the students and engaged them with questions afterwards. Prizes were awarded to the best readers and winners of spelling bee. Certificates of participation were also presented to the children and the volunteers.  It was a lively and fun day for all.

The Summer Reading Program has come to stay. Both parents and children alike were filled with commendation for the program. If you missed this year’s program which held from August 6-23, be sure to take advantage of the opportunity next year. We are grateful to the American Corners Abuja and the Women Center for continuing to promote the culture of reading in our children. Reading is truly a rewarding experience that ought to be encouraged in kids of all ages, even the ones who are older but still young at heart! 

No comments:

Post a Comment