Freeman Cebu Lifestyle


- Axelle Miel -

CEBU, Philippines - See those numbers up there for my title? That's how much pages I read during the school year. That's for about…10 months. Thirty six thousand, eight hundred twenty five pages! That's a lot.

The school that I attend encourages their students to read. Every day after our lunch break, we have a time called "D.E.A.R. Time". This is when we get a book and read or if we don't have a book, we would go down to the school library and borrow one. D.E.A.R. Time lasts for about thirty minutes. Do you know what it means? It means "Drop Everything And Read Time."

Our administrators made a deal with the student body at the beginning of the school year. They said that if we read 1,000,000 pages or more for the whole year, we would be treated to a "Reward Day", where we could have fun with each other for our hard work. We would record down the pages we read during the week in our "Reading Logbook", a folder where we can write down how many pages we flipped through and on the following Monday, we would sum up everyone's pages. We try and reach our goal in a session called "Reading Thermometer". Every time we perused more pages, our "thermometer" would rise up. In each class, the person who read the most number of pages for the whole week would be "Reader of the Week". I was usually the Reader of the Week all the time during the early part of the school year. However, on the later part of the year, a classmate at times would surpass me. I made some reflections about this and carefully looked back on some incidents.

Ever since I learned how to surf the Internet, whenever I had homework, I would usually resort to the Internet instead of using reference books. I was thinking back then that with Internet, my life would be much easier. You can just type in anything on a search engine and -Voila!- the answers are all there. However, sometimes search sites take time to load. While waiting, I would spend some time on www.facebook.com and chat with my friends and play some of the new hot games on this site. I also spend my time watching videos of my favorite singers,Justin Bieber and Taylor Swift (They rock!!) on www.youtube.com or normally play online games that led to my Internet addiction. This became my new, horrible habit. After school, instead of reading a book, which I was supposed to do,I would immediately sit in front of my computer because there's this brand new game I've been playing and I've been thinking, "This game is so cool! Maybe Mom would allow me to sit here for a few more minutes…" The few minutes became few hours, and all the while, I totally forgot about the chapter in the book I was supposed to read.

According to a survey fromwww.frank wbaker.com,children ages 8-18 have spent about 1 hour and 29 minutes on the computer in 2009, which had increased from 1 hour and 2 minutes in 2004, which in turn had rose from 27 minutes in 1999!

Also according to a survey in 2004 of the US Department of Education which is taken from an article in www.newyorktimes.com, just over a fifth of seventeen-year olds said that they read almost every day for fun, which had decreased from about a third in 1984. Nineteen percent of them said that they never or hardly ever read for fun, which increased from 9 percent in 1984. That is what is happening to me. Before, I only used the computer for a few minutes because I wasn't interested in the Internet or in the computer back then. Years passed, and I experimented with the sites online and soon was engrossed with my computer, and I use the computer nearly every day now.

My uncle and aunt shared with me once their observation of their students. They are both college professors working in the USA and they are complaining because their students are totally relying on the Internet. They lose focus and concentration. They are not using critical thinking quite well and at their age, they should be acting and thinking like adults and they need to prepare for the more difficult and more challenging life ahead of them.

As I look back on these experiences, I realize that I should go back to loving the printed material and devote most of my time to reading again. According to the statement of the late Senator Raul Roco, "When you read, you stand on shoulders of giants."

The statement means that you will get smarter when you read. You will know more than others, and it is just like that when you are standing tall you can see everything, but this is just the way the late senator expresses his example of knowing more.You can see far when you read because the information in the book gives you more knowledge.

Books have been here for hundreds, even thousands of years. In books, I do not have any distraction. I could curl up in a comfy chair in silence, but as I read, I can feel that I am part of the story, watching it occur. I can lose concentration in the real world and jump into the story. Books also allow me to go back and forth in time. I can hide in a cave during World War II; watch a sumo wrestling fight back in Japan and make bitter chocolate drinks with the Aztecs. I can do anything and go anywhere according to the setting and plot of my book.

Though I can read online too, the thrill of turning the pages physically is not the same with using my touchpad to scroll down. What is on the next page…?

My excitement to read further creates an air of pleasure and intrigue of turning the page! The text in the book can be understood easily, it has a clear beginning, middle and ending. In the Internet, when I read, it is not very clear and I can make up my own beginning, middle and ending to make up my own version of the story. Also, in the Internet, you could not rely whether the information in a website is authentic or not.

People enjoy adding fake statements or articles in a website. There are also bad words people can insert in an article which are not good for kids like me. Plus, people make dangerous sites for children, and sometimes a child can come across one of these and will get into a troubling situation. Shocking, but, yeah, people who have evil minds would grab the chance to do that.

I have contemplated these events carefully and slowly and I have understood the meaning of it all. Now, I have learned the moral. If I haven't been hooked to the Internet, I could have done better than 36,825 pages. I could have read about 40,000 pages or even 50,000!Don't you think?Now that I have gone back to my love of reading, I would like to reach the unreachable. I wish other children like me would start taking delight in the printed material.

This is my lesson: I have learned that it is better to love reading than surfing the Internet. This is my cause: Let's promote reading literacy among kids. Encourage your children to go to the city library and borrow a book now.

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