By Marion V. Ali
Saint John’s College used last Friday to hold classes in a different format from the norm with a book fair.
The event was to promote the usefulness of reading and to underscore the importance of the practice because of the sharp decline in reading that accompanied the advent of television, computers and the Internet.
The day included active participation of a number of the nation’s more popular newspapers, including The Reporter.
Representatives from these entities engaged the students in conversation and educational discussions on why it pays to read. The newspaper, for instance, normally includes more detailed information about a news item than the radio and television media which cover them.
Organizer of the book fair, Angie Moody, who is also the head of SJC’s Language Arts Department, told The Reporter that SJC introduced the event in February of 2012 because of the noticeable decline in students’ interest in reading.
She added that the school has systematically prioritized reading as a part of the learning process, so much so that the school’s curriculum now comprises 66.7 percent reading material.
The two-year-old exercise has also reportedly yielded a marked improvement in the interest to read among the students.
Moody adds that there is even a broadening of the vocabulary and visibly more students are exchanging books now.
Another initiative that SJC introduced was its newspaper, dubbed “Swampland: Birchman’s Buzz” after its patron saint, John Birchman.
This project, Moody says, brings a whole different medium through which students can amplify their thoughts on the issues affecting their generation as well as to weigh in on national topics.
Coupled with this, each year, first formers now engage in only reading, another activity that has shown great results, according to Moody.
The school, she says, plans to continue encouraging students to read books in their free time to not only expand their vocabulary but also their imaginative skills.
The book fair is now embedded as one of the school’s annual must-do. yearly.