By Nely Vasquez – StS Educational Advancement Assistant
What a beautiful adventure it is — to take a seat and enjoy a wonderful enchanted journey. It is a feeling that can’t be described, a world that only your imagination can give you. Through a book, you can get into any world you want. This happened with the children of our bilingual school in Camasca through a reading contest.Do not read by obligation, do it for fun, smile, live, love, enjoy it. Be aware! With every book you read, you are entering the mind of the person who wrote the book and wants to share their world with you. Begin to be like Lucy, a fifth-grade student in our bilingual school, who fell in love with reading and at the age of 11 years, has now read more than 50 books! – not common in a culture where reading is not a habit.
This project was the first of its kind and being in charge of it was a big challenge for me. It made me feel honored … I was trusted with the first annual Shoulder to Shoulder Reading Contest. We had to plan the project and decide on prizes. We decided to give a big prize to the student who had read the largest number of books.
At the very beginning of her adventure, Lucy’s goal was to win first place in the competition only because of what first place meant, but then it became a hobby and at the end of the contest she continued reading as she had been doing every day. What was really rewarded was her dedication and enthusiasm for reading. I don’t think that I will ever forget when Lucy told her teacher one day: “Miss Jessy, can you please call my dad? I need to tell him that I am staying after class to read.”
Although all the kids were wild about the reading contest, it seemed like it had the biggest impact in the fifth-grade classroom. Students there read as much as they could: they went to read at recess, at lunch, at all times, they even got to school early and stayed later than usual. One of them was Noé. Even though he did not read the most, all his reports demonstrated how much he dove into the books. I was always excited to see the proof that he actually understood and comprehended what he read – much like Nohely’s and Keylin’s reports.
Limits exist only in your mind; the best prize that reading can give you is knowledge. But keep in mind that it is not a book that gives it to you, but your desire and inclination towards reading. Whether you read due to obligation, fun, a challenge, a goal or just out of curiosity, it takes you to a wonderful place.