“Reading makes me happy, there are good stories in books!” – Victoria Mamede, 13.
Devouring books, Cristal’s Reading Club, was founded in partnership with schools and residents’ associations over eight years ago in order to help the Bahia plant’s neighboring communities. The club is constantly looking for new ways of encouraging children and young people to read and show them how books are important. In April this year, the “Reader of the Month” award started to involve dozens of students from the Areias and Arembepe communities. Anyone wishing to participate informs the librarian and is immediately given a booklet to list the titles and authors of books they have read. At the end of each month, their books are counted and the winners get a medal and certificate with their names printed on posters. “Now that they have mastered the technique of reading and comprehension, it is time to help them become readers. That’s what makes the big difference because knowing how to read just means being able to do so rightly or wrongly. Another thing altogether is becoming a habitual reader so that whatever they read positively affects their lives and the decisions they make. ‘Reader of the Month’ is another way of motivating them. At the end of the year, we hope to reward the student who has read most books. All of them are feeling motivated to continue reading. More importantly, reading raises self-esteem which is very important for education,” adds Romi Nascimento, the club’s educational psychologist and coordinator.
Ready to read… anytime!
In addition to Romi, professor Nara Silva Bohana also plays an important role in fostering young readers in Areias. As a local resident, Nara has been supporting the club since 2011 and monitoring children as they develop and learn to appreciate reading. “What strikes me most is how the club draws kids in and gets them off the streets. It is like an oasis in the middle of a desert, because when they get involved with the project, they are less exposed to other risks,” she says.
Nara reads through everything in the library so that she can suggest the right books for each child or young person. She has seen children making very significant progress, and adults too, more recently.
“There were some boys who came along and initially behaved very badly, but they changed when they learned to read. In fact, they had been ashamed of being unable to read. Now, in addition to their changed attitude, we are also seeing more parents getting involved when they come to the club with their children. They read to them and even get books to read themselves.”
Let’s hear from some winners!
“Professor Romi was always telling me to read more. I used to do my Portuguese homework but I got bad grades, but now everything has gotten better!”- Daniel Pereira Rios, aged 12, from the Areias community. Named first “Reader of the Month” for reading 37 books in April.
“I recommend reading a book about a gecko that turned into an alligator. I like reading about love, hope and passion. When I am reading, I am living in a whole new world!”- Jaiane O. dos Santos, aged 12, from the Areias community, read 14 books in July.
“Since I started reading, I got better at reading in class too. I got better grades too and was able to develop my reading. I have a younger sister whom I am now helping to learn.” – Alex Conceição dos Santos, aged 12, from the Areias community, read 14 books in July.
“My mother used to read to me when I was younger and that sparked my interest in books. I learned reading and writing at a 6 and have always enjoyed reading. Reading makes me happy, there are good stories in books!”- Vitória Mamede, aged 13, from the Arembepe community, read 17 books in July.
“I started reading at the residents’ association (Amorvoc) when I was 5. I was very pleased to be named ‘Reader of the Month’ because not everyone gets to do that. The book I liked most was about a princess who had three suitors. Reading fascinates me and I want to read more books.” – Vanderson dos Santos da Silva, aged 12, Arembepe community, read 17 books in July.