Reading can make dreams come true
Everyone joins forces to support children’s literacy in Thailand
Reading: a bridge to success in learning,
Reading: a bridge to meaningful employability,
Reading: a bridge to your dreams,
and “Every Child Can Read” Campaign
is the bridge to children’s literacy.
Reading is a bridge to succeed in learning because it helps organize reader’s thoughts, reinforce understanding, encourage curiosity and attempt to find out answers by ourselves. These skills, developing from reading habits, are life-long skill as a saying “Reading is a foundation of life-long learning”. For every child to have an opportunity to grow, thrive, follow their dream, and have a meaningful work efficiently in the future, reading and reading comprehension skills therefore should be implanted since we are young.
Every Child Can Read
UNICEF Thailand and Office of the Basic Education Commission aim to promote habit of love in reading and create the learning environment for every child in Thailand through a campaign called “Every Child Can Read” that provides an opportunity for them to participate in reading activities, that are suitable with children’s age and in topics that children are interested in and develop reading skills joyfully in schools. This year, in 2022, are marked the 4th years of this campaign.
Strong collaboration from school principals, officers from Office of the Basic Education Commission and teachers from over 126 schools led to over 100 creative activities under “A Book A Week” concept in 18 provinces across Thailand(Udonthani, Chiangmai, Ayutthaya, Saraburi, Pathumtani, Nonthaburi, Samhutprakarn, Samhutsakhorn, Nakhonpathom, Bangkok, Yala, Narathiwas, Pattani, Songkla, Chantaburi, Trad, Tak and Stul) and this year is the first year that UNICEF built another bridge to collaborate with Thai youths all over the nation to drive and support “Every Child Can Read”. Thai Youths joined force in collaboration in the name of I Am UNICEF volunteer, there were 32 volunteers consist of online facilitator volunteers and onsite writer volunteers, who supported UNICEF staff and educational officers for reading activity creation to ensure that students could develop love in reading and encourage students to read enjoyably with their full potential and without the limit of their imagination.
A Book a Week in the Classroom
"Every Child Can Read" is a worthy goal that can begin with weekly reading in schools. Based on the interests and ages of their students, teachers from 126 schools design creative activities using a variety of methods. A Book A Week activity not only brought school libraries to life, but also strengthened teacher-student and student-student relationships like never before. For instance, the "drop all work and read a book instead" concept of the "A Book a Week" activity encourages teachers to stop checking students' homework so they can read books with them. Some schools created this activity during lunch break, when teachers would take turns telling stories to elementary students who eagerly gathered in the library to listen.
"Students, Today, you already won. "You overcame yourself to learn because initially you did not want to read books, but today you have changed." Panaek Patcharawanichasakul the teacher from Burapa Pittayayaram school in Chantaburi said to students during a reading activity.
Elder students teaching younger students is another activity that strengthens relationships among students at school. This activity allows senior primary students to create a Q&A activity for junior primary students based on a story. Some schools combine reading and acting to boost students' confidence. While senior students were reading stories, with some using hand puppets, junior students engaged in role play and took notes in their reading journals. All these activities enhance students' reading skills, creativity, and self-assurance, but the most important one is creating an environment where children can read and write effectively.
Everyone is the champion of change.
A Book a Week could not have been successful without the support of education sector employees, as Dr. Arti Saeji, the chief of education at UNICEF Thailand, stated, "Everyone is the champion of change who contributes to reading for every child." These activities in schools, whether reading for pleasure or for knowledge, instill discipline in children and foster a national reading culture. Currently, more than 75,000 students have participated in Every Child Can Read campaign through reading corners in classrooms, remote mobile libraries, and creative school activities, including online ones.
We can read online
Due to the COVID-19 situation, the school was closed. Therefore, online reading activities have emerged because, regardless of their location, children will continue to read and learn. Last September, on a Saturday afternoon, 29 I Am UNICEF volunteers virtually met with 72 students from across the country to participate in a reading activity. I Am UNICEF volunteered as an online facilitator while the students talked and shared about their favorite books. The highlight of this activity that was popular with them was creative writing for literature epics, in which volunteers brought together domestic and international cartoon characters such as Avengers, Doraemon, Snowwhite, Barbies, Conan, Pikachu, Superman, Black Pink, Phra Aphai Mani, Hanuman, Tossakan, and many others for students to play with their imaginations and come up with a new, never-before-told story. Let's read one of the stories they wrote with their boundless creativity!
In the distant rainbow castle, a young princess resides. People are surprised. How did the princess become an elf? She was then expelled and has seven followers, including six Avengers and Snow White as her servant. When she, the elf, reached adulthood, she attempted to enroll in a princess school, where she met Doraemon, and they all entered Scoobidu's story! And they locked lips. Suddenly, a brilliant light appeared, and the elf transformed into a stunning woman who could wrap and dance beautifully. When she looked into a mirror, she realized, "I am Lisa," and all seven of her followers transformed into short dwarfs. All of them forced Prince Harry to meet Lisa. Following graduation, they teamed up with Jisu, Jenny, and Rose to form BlackPink. They returned to the rainbow castle to perform for their juniors.
Here is the continuation of the story.
A voice from I Am UNICEF volunteer
Thansinee Suwankham (Miew) expressed her feelings while leading an online activity for A Book A Week: "I feel so grateful to be a volunteer this time that I couldn't put it into words, and I learned that every child has a dream, and when they have a safe space to share what they like and their creativity, they can be themselves to their fullest potential, so I am very happy that I am a part of supporting children's dreams." During the activity, a student told Miew, "I wanted to be a police officer," to which she replied,
"No matter where the beginning of your dream is,
your dream has begun right now.
And no matter what your future holds,
you have followed your dreams now.
Because a good book will lead us to our dream
or better things in the future,
and reading broadens our vision,
so I encourage you all to continue reading!"