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Books as keys to live life to the fullest!

Isn’t it strange that in a school, there is a room that holds thousands of keys that open doors to bygone eras and tales from near and far? Those keys unlatch gateways to magical creatures, historical figures, and ordinary people just waiting on the other side, biding their time to be known and experienced. Well, it’s not at all strange, because every school has a library. But not all school libraries have these thousands of keys that transport people of all ages to different worlds. This is what makes our Keys Library stand out—these thousands of keys called books are within the reach of every reader ready to explore the world of words. 

This week at Keys, we give special honor to books as our school joins the 89th National Book Week this year with the theme Read, Reread, Relive! According to the National Book Week 2023 Committee, the theme’s primary goal is to “revive the genuine passion and love for reading daily and to turn reading without a purpose into reading with a real purpose.” Keys supports this as our school library, headed by Teacher Al Del Rosario, leads activities such as Book Hunt, BookTok, and the awarding of top book borrowers in celebration of the said event. These activities are aligned with the theme’s goal as they aim to reiterate the necessity of having strong literacy skills and encourage readers to embed reading books as part of their daily routine. 

Keys students enjoy browsing books available in the school library. © Teacher Al Del Rosario

Keys teachers express support for the National Book Week Celebration in school. © Teacher Al Del Rosario

Books as keys in sharpening literacy and comprehension skills

Reading is the core of the curriculum; our world demands that we read so that we can make sense of how we are going to study and work—to function, in general. Jim Trelease, in his introduction to his seminal work The Read-Aloud Handbook (2013), claims that the “knowledge of almost every subject in school flows from reading. One must be able to read the word problem in math to understand it. If you cannot read the science or social studies chapter, how do you answer the questions at the end of the chapter?” This is a legitimate inquiry. While there are a multitude of resources like videos out there, reading books still plays a major role in shaping a person’s literacy development. Books challenge readers to infer, predict, and even interrogate the claims expressed in the material, especially with argumentative/nonfiction texts. Books also require readers to learn how to synthesize learnings in their own words or compare other reading materials to another. As a result, books help readers to have more active and critical thinking skills—skills that show comprehension. 

Books also expose readers to writing their texts. As Stephen King (2000) said, “If you want to be a writer, you must do two things above all others: read a lot and write a lot.” Books provide a plethora of ideas especially to aspiring writers—from well-crafted plotlines to descriptive writing styles for imaginative literature, or clear-cut claims and evidence for scholarly writeups. 

Reading books, in short, makes highly skilled people with a learning purpose in mind. 

Books as keys in making one’s daily life a quality life

To say that one is truly living the life of a reader, a person must make it a point that he/she spends time engaging with a book, especially that kind that will both enlighten and entertain the reader. In their book that has been trusted for many decades and is still relevant to today’s time titled How to Read a Book: The Classic Guide to Intelligent Reading, Mortimer Adler and Charles van Doren (1972) state, “....a good book can teach you about the world and about yourself. You learn more than how to read better; you also learn more about life. You become wiser. Not just more knowledgeable—books that provide nothing but information can produce that result. But wiser, in the sense that you are more deeply aware of the great and enduring truths of human life.” In addition to this, Annie Murphy Paul (2012) observes in research that “reading great literature enlarges and improves us as human beings” (p. 18, as cited in Beers & Probst, 2013). Indeed, one becomes a better person because of reading. Remember, books are the keys to getting to know characters who have various complex feelings and experiences that we could relate to or perhaps not yet, and their stories have a lot to teach us as we relive them on the printed pages. 

Setting a regular reading time with quality books available in the Keys Library will help students and teachers keep in touch with and reflect on life amid humdrums and conundrums. 

The call to Read, Reread, Relive is certainly what our Keys Library has been consistently doing despite many circumstances. Now that the school is back to face-to-face classes, the keys to stories of splendor and fascinating facts are available more than ever to every reader in Keys School Manila. The Library, for sure, cannot wait to hand in readers these life-changing keys called books.

Reference List:

Adler, M. & van Doren, C. (1972). How to read a book: the classic guide to intelligent

reading. Touchstone.

Beers, K. & Probst, R. (2013). Notice and note: strategies for close reading.

Heinemann.

King, S. (2000). On writing: a memoir of the craft. Scribner.

Trelease, J. (2013). The read-aloud handbook (7th Ed.). Penguin Books.

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