To inculcate the habit of reading and develop love for books among children, a storytelling session for students from a madrasa was organized at the CLF Secretariat in Islamabad. The children were very enthusiastic and ecstatic, and that made me equally excited to see their reactions to the stories they heard. It was heartwarming to see them eagerly poring over the books being read to them. I was delighted that the children were so participative and engaged in the stories. It was a pleasure to see the children enjoy the books being read aloud. The children were also taught poems with hand gestures. Trying to anticipate what was coming next, I had a wide smile on my face throughout. Although the presenter had conducted this activity numerous times before, he was still getting a great deal of satisfaction from it.
The students of the madrasa were completely unfamiliar with and unexposed to this kind of environment. However, their response caught me off guard and I was rather surprised, but pleased. They were quick at learning the poems, grasping new concepts and interacted with the teacher from start to finish. They sung along and immediately answered questions. Their eyes lit up when they recited the poems and they promised to go back home and recite them to their friends and family.
I hope this activity will have a positive outcome; the children will start reading on their own as reading will stimulate their minds, broaden their horizons, expand their knowledge and open up new avenues for them. Reading involves creative imaginations thereby promoting ingenious thinking. Also, reading will teach them how to believe that anything is possible if you put your mind to it. I could tell this activity boosted their confidence as they were around people they had never interacted with before, yet they seemed very comfortable and optimistic. I relish these weekly activities as they give me the opportunity to interact with students and teachers, both groups equally passionate about the activities they participate in.
Natalia Aslam Khan