Despite the differences in culture, economy and geography, reading promoters around the world have common motivations and wishes. Cooperation among promoters and learning from the experiences of the world can be effective in promoting the culture of reading and improving literacy levels which can benefit children immensely.

In February 2021, on Read-aloud week, Marlon Marmol, a promoter from the Philippines, shared his read-aloud week pictures with the Read with Me team. This prompted us to arrange an interview and ask him about his activities and sources of inspiration.

Read a short conversation with Marlon Marmol below:

Please introduce yourself and tell us a bit about your activities in reading promotion for children.

I am Marlon A. Marmol, a Secondary School Teacher III at San Antonio National High School, Schools Division Office-Iriga City, Bicol Region, Philippines. My project is I Love BOOKS (Building Optimistic Opportunities and Knowledge for Students). Aside from our school library through this project, i have converted my classroom as a library classhome in order to make inspiring books so nearer to our beloved students. Other features of this project is Libro Kubo (a hut full with books), Forest Library, improvised Little Libraries, and reading corners at school and home. This project also conducts storytelling, drop everything and read, read aloud, reading buddies, reading diaries, world read aloud day, and blind date with a book. This also has encouraged numerous benefactors where thousands of books and shelves were donated by them. This time this project will be conducted in partnership with my adopted community.

What is the reading situation in your country and region like?

Our reading situation here in our country and region is alarming. Most learners are not fond of reading books and other reading materials anymore thus having very low comprehension skills and poor academic performances.

How did you learn about the Read with Me program?

I have learned about Read with Me through your facebook page.

Do you think Read with Me methods and approaches are applicable to your country and region?

Yes, very much!

Which aspects of the Read with Me program has inspired you most?

I am inspired by your advocacy of giving learners great access to books especially those in the far flung areas.

What similarities do you find between your own work and the Read with Me program?

We are both passionate advocates of letting all children and learners appreciate the love for books and reading through giving them fast access to books and inspiring them that in reading there are great and amazing opportunities every person can get.

What are the challenges for reading promotion in your country? Has Read with Me helped in overcoming some of these challenges?

Challenges are lack of inspiring reading materials, benefactors, and funds to sustain projects and activities.

How did you decide to share your Read-aloud week experiences with the Read with Me team? Tell us more about children’s reactions and feedback during this week.

I have seen on your fb page a post on reading aloud. Our students really enjoyed and participated actively in our world read aloud day. Even in their vacant time, we use read aloud as part of their routinary task while studying at home.

Do you have any memorable stories to share from your Read-aloud week?

What really inspired me during that week was the driven passion exerted by our students, parents, school principal, and all teachers in playing their roles as story tellers. Our students even prepared read aloud backdrop at home where they led reading aloud with their parents and brothers and sisters. In our school, our school principal read aloud to us all teachers and non-teaching personnel. And during series of parents’ meetings, all class advisers read aloud a covid 19 pandemic poem to all the parents to inspire them that we need to rise up above challenges in life.

How do you think we can connect reading promoters around the world? What is the importance of this connection?

I believe we can connect reading promoters around the world by sharing our best reading practices we currently apply at the moment, form a group chat where we could send our best practices and this could be our access to present and brainstorm upcoming strategies as reading promoters for our learners, parents, school, and the entire community as well.

What are your wishes for children?

My wish for children is for them to have built family libraries at home thus books are always available for them, may they always be inspired to read for them to happily live, lead and succeed forever in this world.

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