In the Children’s Home we have some books: novels, stories and comics. But it is very unusual to see a kid reading any of these books. However, it is quite common to see a kid with the school bookd memorizing them. It is as if they were training for playing a Trivial tournament. Reading anything that does not prepare them for it, it’s considered “wasting time”. It is absolutely essential here to know who named the Pacific Ocean; or which is the lake located in the highest altitude; or the exact high of the mount Everest.
Nepalese use the same word for “to read” and “to study”: parnu (पढ्न). The number of literate people has increased a lot in the last ten years. But the culture of reading for pleasure is not widespread yet.
A few months ago Nerea Guezuraga started an activity with the secondary level kids of the Children’s Home to promote reading and to improve their English level. Every evening, after dinner, from 7 to 7:30, we have met in a room all together and listened a couple of pages of the first book of Harry Potter, read by the actor Steven Fry. In the most interesting or complicated passages, we stopped the recording and by turns a kid re-read the passage, and discussed it.
For months we have had this good habit. At first the children were a little bit reluctant, but towards the end of the book, the kids used to came quickly after dinner to the reading room. Many days requesting to read an extra page.
Finally, Sunday we finished “Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone”!
Tuesday is holiday: Sonam Losar (Tamang cast New Year), so we decide to project the film of the book we havejust finished reading. In this way we celebrate the first book of over a hundred pages all these children have read!
Within two months the children have to make the final exams. Once finished, we will begin the second book, “Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets.” Until then, children will keep training to be the best Trivial players!