More on reading and literature

My friend Abner’s post on Lang Leav and literature had me thinking of two things: ideas to expose our students to beautiful poetry and wonderful literature, and my own literary backstory.

Pasabog/An Explosion of Literature

As I was reading aforementioned post, particularly the part about having a school environment that exposed and encouraged students to literature, ideas on what we could do to foster such love for the written word. We recently concluded our Literacy Month activities during which we turned classrooms into “living” books of popular authors (Bibliofy activity for high school); featured Bible stories and locally penned literature in the grade school bulletin boards; invited children’s book authors to give talks; invited parents to hold storytelling sessions to the kids; and come to school in costume (featuring literary characters!). The feedback from the students was resoundingly positive, and the students have given us more ideas and tips on what to do the following year.

Because of such a reception, I’m encouraged to continue promoting literacy and love for reading. Abner’s post made me imagine school filled with poetry from floor to ceiling. I saw “graffiti” on the walls and floor featuring lines from Shakespeare famous poems or plays, quotes from Austen’s or Nabokov’s or the Bronte sisters’ or Eliot’s works; I can see the canteen tables stenciled with lines from Dahl or Seuss or–let’s not forget local writers–Rizal or Joaquin. Grade school corridors would see paintings of local children’s book covers or characters from Darna or Ang Pambihirang Buhok ni Raquel or any of Rene O. Villanueva’s stories.

"Ang Pambihirang Buhok ni Raquel" Click to go to official website of publisher.

“Ang Pambihirang Buhok ni Raquel”
Click to go to official website of publisher.

Grade 3 students recreated "Ang Pambihirang Buhok ni Raquel" on their bulletin board using recycled materials for Literacy Month. Photo by Darrel Marco

Grade 3 students recreated “Ang Pambihirang Buhok ni Raquel” on their bulletin board using recycled materials for Literacy Month. Photo by Darrel Marco

(Ooooooh I could pee in my pants right now from this excitement!)

This is a HUGE undertaking that possibly requires a HUGE amount of funds, which, unfortunately, we don’t have, but I’m not about to give this up just yet. I can wait and come up with alternative literary appreciation activities. I’ve got a poetry reading activity and Shakespeare street theater lined up for approval this coming final academic quarter, and a dedication paper roses suggestion (dunno how this is gonna work yet, but I’m excited!) from a colleague that we can use to both raise funds for the different school organizations and a way to promote literature. And then Literacy Month, National Children’s Book Day, and Buwan ng Wika (Filipino Month) are all annual events that we celebrate, so there is no shortage of institutional literary appreciation activities.

I believe this now begs the question of how do we encourage or foster a love for reading INSIDE the classroom? Heaven knows it’s next to impossible to get EVERY single student to love reading in just one school year, but a teacher can and will always try. This is one goal of teaching that I feel I have not fully accomplished, for I still have students who skip required reading material and go for online summaries or ask classmates for details on what happened.

Can you imagine if reading were promoted on a grand scale?! We’d have readers and readers and more readers!

This brings me to my second thought: my personal literary backstory.

However, given the length of this blog post already, I think I’ll save that for another day. 🙂


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