Monday, December 9, 2013

The 3rd ReaderCon Panel on Kids and Their Stories: What "Kid" Readers Want

It's a gloomy day but there were bright smiles of kids in the hall at the 5th floor of the Rizal Library Ateneo de Manila University.

I was at the 3rd ReaderCon and the kids who were present during the panel, Kids and Their Stories were just as excited as the panelists themselves. Dr. Luis Gatmaitan (writer), Dang Bagas (author) and Fran Ong (publisher) were all in awe listening at the questions the kids asked.

How do you inspire kids to read? What keeps you motivated as a writer? What stories have you not written yet? These were but a few of the questions they asked. Majority of the kids present were grade six students from CENTEX Manila and grade 3 students of Holy Spirit Elementary School. The sixth graders particularly were very interactive. They huddled close together and in whispers coached each other for questions to ask the panelists.

These kids want non-fiction books; books about the world; genre literature namely, horror, humor, adventure, mystery (no mention of fantasy, perhaps it's because the kids have access to these genre of literature) and stories that show the importance of life. To these responses, the panelists took notes. Teachers of these students could not help but clamor for concept books written in Filipino. There you go, mother tongue! Such books can be used in teaching lessons and units as prescribed by the curriculum. There are textbooks, yes, but these cover only 20% of learning concepts. What non-textbook reading materials can offer are the possibilities of thinking beyond the designed learning plans and acquiring concepts that can be applied in real life situations.

We have our work cut out for us.

As a librarian, I could not help but do a mental scan of places and spaces where kids, parents and teachers can access books they want to read. It is a disservice when libraries could not provide for the needs of its readers. I was a bit disappointed to find out that teens were absent during the panel. Being a Saturday, perhaps they had other "gimik" or event to take part in. Maybe next time, if there will be a next time, book clubs in high schools should be invited to the panel.

The session ended with the kids asking for the panelists' autographs. Go authors! Go Fran, maker of books! You rock!

1 comment:

Blooey said...

I remember hearing, "Is there a book called, 'The Conjuring'?"

Great panel! :)

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