By MICHAEL LAI
THE PNG Book Foundation believes and wants to promote the notion that it is the responsibility of the parents to teach their children to make reading a lifestyle at home.
This message was delivered during a book presentation at the Bisiatabu Adventist Elementary and Primary School in Central during a special visit by thefoundation on Thursday, Nov 29.
The foundation committee members accompanied an Australian family who came for a holiday to present the books.
They enjoyed the trip to Sogeri Plateau, which is a 30-minute drive from the capital. The visitors donated more than 500 books to support the school library. At least 300 of them were special gifts from the family members from the Australian National University. Those books will be kept in the library that was built by Digicel Foundation and will benefit more than 250 children.
PNG Book Foundation plays a part in the donation of books to schools around Port Moresby to eradicate illiteracy.
The programme was held to commemorate World Children’s Day which fell the previous week. The afternoon visit mainly targeted school children and parents to promote reading and writing as part of lifestyle at home and in school in rural areas of Central.
The foundation’s founder and coordinator Nathan John told the parents that learning started from home and it was the responsibility of parents to teach their children how to read and write at home. Basic literacy must start from home and continue on in school.
In this competitive school system, children who score better go to further studies and the ones who read books will make it to that level.
John said books were made available in the library to support the children to improve their learning abilities. He said the foundation had sacrificed a lot to get books from different sources and donate them to rural school like Bisiatabu. He also advised the school board to look for more books for the library so that children could enjoy reading to acquire a lot of information to work on their homework and assignments.
A visiting friend Professor Steven Howes from Australia National University strongly encouraged the kids and parents to read books together at home.
Howes and his family who were in Port Moresby for a holiday joined the foundation committee to visit the school. They brought more than 300 books for the children and donated them to the school through the PNG Book Foundation initiative.
Prof Howes told the children that reading a book opened the door to explore the world and develop thinking. His doctor wife, Clare told the parents to identify the areas in which their children were good at and encourage them to develop those skills.
She said those children whose interest was in sport should be provided books that contain sports stories and urged to read them.
The coupled emphasised that such methods could be used to improve children’s abilities and interests and parents should identify their children’s weakness and strengths to support them with useful reading materials.
The school children were given a book each as a gift and the remainder of the books were kept at their library.
The Howe family was so excited to be part of the non-profit organisation that worked to improve the level of literacy in marginalised societies. They asked the school to request what types of book they needed in future so that they would work closely with the foundation to donate more books for the children to read.
John, who coordinated the school visit, was delighted that the Howe family recognised the work of the foundation and gave a hand in donating books. It was the first time for the foundation to accompany such a family who had a heart for the education and the development of literacy in the country.
On behalf of the school and the board of management, head teacher William thanked the PNG Book Foundation and Prof Howes and his family for the timely book donation. He said that the new library built by Digicel Foundation was standing idle with no books.
“Such a donation can now help children to make use of the library for reading and research purposes.”
He said the gift of books would make a great difference in the community when they read. He called on the Government and the private sector to work together to support the rural communities and marginalised children to live their dreams in life through quality education.
The foundation is not only promoting reading but also writing and was fortunate to have a book written by one of the foundation members. The book titled Brain Software To Cultivate Minds is currently on the market. The two copies of it were donated to the school and one to the Howes family as a gift from the foundation.
The book talks about the secret to unlock potential by developing the mind. Parents and schools were asked to purchase copies for their children and home libraries.
PNG Book Foundation’s mission is to donate books and enhance reading to see literacy improved as part of the greater PNG Vision 2050.
The foundation has so far donated 1,300 books to various schools ranging from elementary schools.
By MICHAEL LAI