To begin November this year, I visited one elementary school in West Manggarai Regency. I was assigned to collect data on students’ reading ability at SDI Nggorang, Komodo Sub-District. This is my first time visiting the school, and all concerns and curiosity were mixed up on my way to this school, which has been partnering with Rainbow Reading Gardens since last year.
After meeting and talking briefly with the principal, I went to the library to do what I am assigned to. At the library, I was welcomed by a number of teachers and the librarian. And it happened that it was a library period. I was pretty much welcomed by all elements of the school, which is located 10 km away from the center of Labuan Bajo.
Students were running towards the library and they enthusiastically headed to the bookshelves and picked books they thought attractive. I am not sure what types of books are attractive to them, yet I can ensure that none of them were at the library empty-handed.
Some girls approached me and read the book quite loudly next to me, signalling that they wanted to show off their reading skills. I excitedly listened to them. My attention was directed to one of them who seemed to know the book very well. She seemed to have read the book numerous times as she mentioned the words written on the next page, even though her eyes stayed on the previous page.
At that moment, my memory flew to when I was a little girl. I received some books as presents, yet I have a favorite: a book about cows. I cannot remember exactly how the story goes or what the title is. However, I remember how I read the book every morning, afternoon, and night for weeks. I knew the story, but I could read it over and over again for weeks. Whenever there were guests at my place, I excitedly showed them the book and at the same time showed off my reading skills, of course.
What happened at SDI Nggorang that day has brought me back to my old days. I could say that little girl being me and the book she was holding being the cow book my parents gave to me.
Later on I realized that what children receive during their childhood times may have significant impacts to the next years. I still can picture some enjoyable experiences during my childhood, even as I am now entering the quarter century of age. Vice versa, experiences which are not enjoyable, I can also vision at the moment 🙂
From what my colleagues and I at Rainbow Reading Gardens are doing at the moment, which is through child-friendly libraries and all activities in it, we highly hope to create enjoyable experiences for kids, which can stay in their memory for the next years as they grow up. We are working to expand the impact, to help kids record enjoyable experiences with their favorite books in their memory, especially those in the Eastern Indonesia.