When books prevail over the television

Since Juan Sebastián's parents participated in the Love for Reading program, he changed the hours in front of the television for hours enjoying his storybooks.

By Diego Brom, UNICEF's Paraguay Communication Associate
Foto Juan Sebastián leyendo libro cuentos
UNICEF/Paraguay/2021/Alderete
07 October 2021

Juan Sebastián's mother, Alice Aguinagalde (34) tells that, some time back, she and her husband bought storybooks for their son but they were not able to capture his attention because they were too difficult for him and they were not able to convey the content. They could not get the son interested in reading. One day they learned about the Love for Reading program and joined the experience as a family. They learned how to tell stories, and even received a book kit to enjoy with their son.

"We started helping and encouraging Juan Sebastián to read. Any time we had available after work, we would get organized and played with him to get him interested in reading. Little by little he started loving books. He feels happy and, in fact, has changed a lot because before he only watched TV and played with his toys,” says the mother.

Alice notices a change in Juan Sebastián and realizes that now he prefers to read a book rather than watch TV. "It surprises me because he begins to tell us stories that we didn't teach him, stories that he creates in his little head," she admits.

Now, at 7 pm, Juan Sebastián drops everything and gets ready to read stories with his parents on the sofa at home. He even tells them the stories himself, despite the fact that he still cannot read. He is developing his imagination through the illustrations on the pages.

“Hopefully everyone has this opportunity that my son has been given. I hope it reaches the other geographical departments, including children in remote areas of the country, because the future of our Paraguay depends on instilling values and culture in our children,” says Alice.

Alice and her husband are very grateful to UNICEF and the Alda and En Alianza Foundations for implementing this project in the city of Caazapá, benefiting families who otherwise would not be able to access this learning and storybooks.

The Love for Reading program has been implemented since 2018 to promote this habit as of early childhood. It provides families with tools to mitigate the consequences of children’s social isolation due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The initiative is developed by UNICEF, the Alda, En Alianza and Educamass Foundations, and is endorsed by the Ministry of Education & Sciences.

Foto familia Juan Sebastián
UNICEF/Paraguay/2021/Alderete