Philippine Daily Inquirer - - NEWS -

To ad­dress the de­clin­ing read­ing habits of Filipinos, the United Na­tions Chil­dren’s Fund (Unicef) and in­te­grated prop­erty de­vel­oper SM Prime are call­ing on par­ents to take time to read to their chil­dren to de­velop their love of read­ing.

Speak­ing dur­ing the re­cent Na­tional Chil­dren’s Book Read­ing Day event at SM Mall of Asia in Pasay City, Martin Porter, Unicef plan­ning, mon­i­tor­ing and eval­u­a­tion of­fi­cer, pointed out the im­por­tant role of par­ents for their chil­dren, es­pe­cially in de­vel­op­ing healthy habits such as read­ing.

“My par­ents used to read to me when I was a lit­tle kid and it helped de­velop in me the habit of read­ing,” he said.

SM Cares Pro­gram on Chil­dren and Youth Di­rec­tor Roys­ton Cabunag said that love of read­ing was de­vel­oped early on and par­ents played a key role in its de­vel­op­ment.

“Re­search has shown that chil­dren whose par­ents read to them and who them­selves read reg­u­larly de­velop the love of read­ing. This is the rea­son why par­ents should make time to be with their chil­dren, read to them so that it be­comes habit­form­ing,” he noted.

Ac­cord­ing to the Na­tional Book De­vel­op­ment Board (NBDB), Filipino non­school­book (NSB) read­ers re­main high at 80 per­cent, which means four out of five Filipino adults still read books and other ma­te­ri­als.

How­ever, the fig­ure de­clined from 90 per­cent in 2003 and 83 per­cent in 2007.

While the same study did not cite any rea­son for the de­cline, ex­perts agree that so­cial me­dia, tele­vi­sion and the new life­style among the youth have con­trib­uted to their wan­ing in­ter­est in read­ing.

To bring back the habit and love of read­ing in young peo­ple, SM Cares has part­nered again with Unicef, to­gether with Na­tional Book Store (NBS) and Vibal Pub­lish­ing, to hold the book read­ing event which co­in­cides with Book Read­ing month.

Aside from SM Mall of Asia, si­mul­ta­ne­ous book read­ing events were also held in other 65 SM malls in the coun­try and 7 in China, as well as se­lect SMDC Malls and SM Cherry Malls in Metro Manila. Chil­dren were given books and school sup­plies by NBS and Anvil.

Mau­reen Alexan­dra Ramos-Padilla, NBS manag­ing di­rec­tor, said read­ing also en­hanced one’s per­son­al­ity and ap­pre­ci­a­tion of one’s self and of other peo­ple.

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