Feedback of Ms. Vin Del Rosario, School Librarian, Laguna BelAir School, City of Santa Rosa, Philippines on PaperTigers: Books+Water Book Sets
Concluding our focus on Laguna BelAir School and their involvement in our WaterBridge Outreach program we present the feedback of the school librarian Ms. Vin Del Rosario.
The books donated by the PaperTigers: Books+Water presented a very suitable opportunity for me to propose a reading program for the Learning Resource Center (LRC).
I am a School Librarian who oversees the operations of the Library and Learning Resource Center of Laguna BelAir School, a K-12 private educational institution located in the City of Santa Rosa, Laguna,Philippines.
This reading program was spearheaded by the LRC in partnership with the Class Advisers and Reading Teachers of students in Grades 2 to 6. One of the aims of this reading program was for students to encourage one another to read the Spirit of PaperTigers (SPT) books in the library to reach the class reading goal. The reading goal was determined by the number of students in the class, the assigned 3 SPT titles and percentage of expected participating students. To reach the class reading goal faster, more students must participate in the reading program.
This SPT Reading Program gave me more chances to reach out to the clients of the library. While the reading program was up and running, the students would wait for me every morning during their Class Routine time for the distribution of the Mini Book Certificates. These small pieces of paper certified that the student earned points for his/her class by submitting correct answers using the Book Completion Form (BCF).
This SPT reading program provided me an avenue to know in-depth the reading abilities of the students who participated in the program. In the same manner, the Class Advisers themselves professed that this activity opened another opportunity for them to know more the students in their advisory class. Some students found a chance to show off their special abilities, and for that, efforts were made to recognize these little triumphs. The tokens that were distributed to the children (ballpoint pens, bookmarks, and stickers) gave the children some sense of pride in their active participation in the SPT Reading program. Parents were given copies of the pictures taken during the SPT Reading Program awarding ceremony. The school reiterated the partnership that we need to uphold to ensure that the children will develop the habit of reading. Most of the parents appreciated the recognition given to their children.
As a School Librarian, and in conceptualizing this reading program, one of my deepest desires was to use the SPT books to encourage more students to visit the LRC. The program aimed to encourage 50% of the students in grades 2 to 6 to participate. The response of the students was so overwhelming. The SPT reading program was well accepted, it achieved 76.1% participation! They were excited to read the adventures of Kojo, Jilu, Little Leap Forward, Luis, Thomas, etc. It was unfortunate, but I had to deliberately shorten the reading program because the class reading goals have already been reached, almost two months earlier than the target time. There were days when the cues of students wanting to read the SPT books were very long, but the students still waited patiently for their turn. The book completion forms made them read the books in a more comprehensive way to be able to satisfy their want to receive the Mini Book Certificates the following morning.
This SPT reading program also created more meaningful working relationships between the library and some faculty members. The library requested for teacher volunteers who would assist the library staff during the reading sessions in the library. More than 30% of faculty members responded positively to this call. It was indeed an opportunity to practice stewardship, one of the core values that the school advocates for all the members of the school community.
After the reading program, I had opportunities to do read aloud sessions for some of the SPT books to the students in grades 2 and 3. We allowed ourselves to be absorbed by the moving stories and the artistic illustrations of the book. We joined Jilu as he explored his ger in different seasons, an experience that we do not have in the Philippines as we only have two seasons. We shared the struggles of Luis on his way to El Tormento, his passion to read was worth emulating. We all admired the skills of Thomas and his friends, they worked together to build their school. In the Philippines, we call the value of working together as “bayanihan”, which is a culture we share with the children and teachers of Chad.
I had sleepless nights checking an average of 108 Book Completion Forms daily during the SPT reading program. This I had to do as I did not want to disappoint the students who were waiting for their Mini Book Certificates the following morning. And being able to encourage 32% of non-library users to finally visit the library just to participate in this reading program was all worth the back pains and sleepless nights.
This SPT Reading Program was just a commencement activity. We have to continue encouraging the children to read and to understand the traditions, practices, and culture of different peoples all around the world. We all need to see that, while we have differences, still, we can live with respect for one another and exist harmoniously.
I look at the future with hope in my heart knowing that all other PaperTigers: Books+Water books will continue to promote these values. The teachers in the classrooms, with the prodding of the Academic Team Head, will discuss these values more deeply with the children. Laguna BelAir School will continue to explore and use the stories in the SPT book sets because the school also espouses related advocacies, appreciation of our Filipino culture and at the same time understanding other cultures… in the hope for a better world-with children growing up as stewards and adults with deeply-rooted empathy.