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You can do anything, even fly to the moon, with a book

By: - Reporter / @TarraINQ
/ 03:54 AM November 30, 2011

Education Secretary Armin Luistro INQUIRER FILE PHOTO

By reading a book, you can do anything, even fly to the moon.

Education Secretary Armin Luistro called on schoolchildren Tuesday to grab a book and start reading, saying the written word could stir their imagination and take them even to places that seem impossible.

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Speaking at the Inquirer Read-Along Festival Tuesday, a visibly impressed Luistro also broached the idea of working with the newspaper and other partners to turn the inaugural event into a nationwide project next year.

The festival was held as part of the Philippine Daily Inquirer’s yearlong celebration of the 25th founding anniversary of the country’s No. 1 newspaper and in line with National Reading Month.

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“You can do anything if you know how to read. It allows us to enter a world not available to us, even fly to the moon,” Luistro told a gathering of elementary school students from around Metro Manila, at the GT Toyota Asian Center inside the University of the Philippines campus in Diliman, Quezon City.

“Books allow us to enter an imaginary world, a new world.  The key is reading. If we know how to read, we can enter many worlds, imaginary, real, futuristic,” the official said.

Luistro, who spearheads the Department of Education’s program “Every Child A Reader” to promote reading among students, stressed the importance of this basic skill in child development.

“More than any other time, I’ve seen that the most critical among all the areas (of learning) is really reading. Because unless the foundation of reading—competence, comprehension, critical thinking—is there in the beginning, promoting children to different levels is really useless,” Luistro added in an interview.

“To me it’s so important that we do not promote any child to the next [grade] level unless the reading skills for their level are mastered,” he said.

Seeing the Inquirer Read-Along Festival, Luistro said he was “convinced even more that this is something that the department should be doing even more.”

He said the education department was looking at partnering with the paper and other organizations to scale up a similar activity where students not only get to listen to stories but also compete in storytelling among themselves.

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“Part of the reason I came here [is that] I want to see the different activities being done. We’re brainstorming and I told the Inquirer (that) next year let’s partner and make this nationwide,” Luistro said.

“[Let’s turn it into] a real festival, where every province has read-along sessions done simultaneously. We could really expand it.”

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TAGS: Armin Luistro, Children, Education, Inquirer Read-Along
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