Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Bibliotherapy: Come! Weave With Us!

My talk on Bibliotherapy at the Benitez Hall, College of Education in UP Diliman last November 8, 2018 turned out to be an inspiring and life affirming session. I was with friends from the UP READING Department, kindred spirits and partners in the advocacy for literacy development. Years ago, our battle cry was to instill a genuine love for books and reading. Today, while this aim remains true, we are in agreement on the power of stories and children’s literature to heal and to build empathy. 

There has been a lot of talk going on about books for children dealing with sensitive topics. By this I mean the following issues that have not been fully explored in years past. Incest. Child abuse. Gender issue and biases. Extra Judicial Killings. Child pornography. Dynsfynctional family. Same sex marriage. Sexuality ans sexual preferences. HIV infection. We are living in exciting and dangerous times indeed! These events, trends and movements in literature and the changing times give us reason to improve teaching strategies and the delivery of effective library services and programs for children. We teach skills for comprehension, yes. But we also need to select, evaluate and offer books and stories that show care and compassion.

Comments from the participants were aplenty. How concerned they were of access to books in areas where libraries and bookstore are few and far between. Why isn’t there any national guideline on reading? While there are many localised efforts to advocate literacy and its many benefits, resources and teaching materials are still scarce. That is reason enough to keep reading, writing and teaching! It was a comfort to know from Teacher Hazel Preclaro how the department reaches out to communities in Quezon City for book donation initiatives, tutorials, read aloud sessions and storytelling enounters. It should be clear by now that, in education, one’s job and contribution to the country is unending. 

Then, we need to inspire and mentor more teachers and librarians to believe in the magic of stories. Come! Weave with us! 

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