UNICEF, SM URGE PARENTS TO READ TO THEIR CHILDREN
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.