CLASS RECORD: Reading is still in style PDF Print E-mail
Friday, 02 December 2011 15:11

BY Christine Y. Guinacaran

We’ve just concluded the National Book Week Celebration in Zamboanga City High School. The national  theme was, “Libraries for Progress.”  The English Department with the School Library sponsored the affair.

These  days of cut and paste, without much of the involvement of  the brain,     many students  derive enjoyment from computer games because computers  make requirements easy to accomplish in a short  time.  The rest of the time  go to computer games. 

However, during the National Book Week Celebration, I observed that students, could still draw much enjoyment from reading. With the many activities  lined-up for the celebration I saw  that students were still very excited to participate in these activities.  Here are  some of them:

Speed Reading —  Many of the students wanted to sign up for this competition, but only six students  per year level could be accommodated.  The students were disappointed but there was nothing the coordinator could do because there were other competitions to follow,  and it needed time to check their answers. The rule for Speed reading is to let  the students read and answer a selection in two minutes, the ones with highest number of points win.  Some of the students finished even before two minutes and got all the answers right. This tells us  that there are students who still spend their free time reading  because it is only by practice that you can read with speed.

Oration —  This one requires more effort than speed reading because the students have to memorize the piece then recite it.  I am surprised that many students are still very much willing to take the effort of memorizing an oratorical piece and reciting  it with expression and actions in front.  I thought that students nowadays avoid anything that involves discipline and anything  untechnological.   But there they were queuing to join the elimination. There are different kinds of orators.  Some walk from the end of the stage to the other end, while others deliver with so much emotion, sometimes with tears in theirs eyes, while others just stand like a statue with only their eyeballs persuading the audience and pleading with the judges.    

Smart Talking  — When you hear the contestants of smart talking speak,( by the way smart talking was called extemporaneous speaking before),  you will marvel at how well these mere high students could express their thoughts clearly, and  creatively.  Where have  they gotten all those ideas —  ideas that are profound and deep?  The issues were based from the theme  and stock knowledge, vocabulary and grammar were very important o win. It is obvious, many students still read!

Speech Choir — This is the biggest event in every National Book Week Celebration in our school. The rest of the contests are done within the week of the celebration, but the speech choir is given great prominence in the culminating program.  Speech choir involves the mastery of the piece and the interpretation through voice and dramatics. This is very hard work because you have to interpret the piece by paragraph, by lines and by words.  I have tried training students for this competition and I always end up worried and stressed out and haggard till after the contest.  But the trouble is worth  the excitement when your students perform with the rest who are qualified.  You could see the different interpretations, and costumes and props. Just like in reading, the same reading material,  can yield different effects  on  people. In City High, our Speech choir is very theatrical. You would think you were in a panoply of  theatre performances.   Judges  are carefully chosen for this affair.

It seemed to me  that students these days abhor exerting extra  effort  in their studies other than to  cut and paste, but it  is  refreshing  to know that they still get excited to be involved in school activities and even if it requires them to  read and memorize a long piece  and go home late because of practice.