About 230 students from Punakha, Thimphu, Haa, Wangdue and Samtse are attending a five-day summer reading retreat, themed ‘we are reading’ in Lobesa Lower Secondary School (Lobesa LSS), Punakha.
The retreat, which aims at making reading fun, is a voluntary initiative of a group of teachers from Lobesa LSS. According to the organising team, the retreat is a platform for students to meaningfully engage themselves during the summer break and to get together to build a good reading habit. The event started on July 24.
The team held a two-day trial reading retreat last year with the students of Lobesa LSS where they observed that students were interested in reading. For the 230 registered participants this year, there are 30 volunteers to help with activities. The students are from classes four to eight with a majority from Lobesa LSS.
According to the team, the retreat aims to provide a conducive reading environment, enrich language and vocabulary, provide a platform to showcase the students’ best practices, instill the habit of reading and team work. The participants pay a fee of Nu 250 each.
One of the teachers and media officer for the programme, Sonam Norbu, said, the retreat would make reading a fun activity. “The retreat aims to promote reading through various activities. It shows children that reading is not restricted to books.”
He said the students read any books they are interested in and read stories, articles, poems, songs, during their day time activities.
The organisers said that reading is not isolated to English and that reading Dzongkha is equally important. “Our Dzongkha facilitators organised a lozey, Bhutanese poetry as a reading activity.”
The retreat has four sessions each day. The first day of the reading retreat engaged students in activities such as reading to link and sequence, library visit, musical reading game, and reading to edit.
Other activities included mixed guided reading, buddy reading, building a story, freeze frame, tongue twisters and reading and composing tune for the retreat’s theme song. The retreat would now be organising relay reading, treasure hunt reading, book talk and room reading.
Sonam Norbu said the programme received Nu 30,000 from Punakha dzongkhag administration, Nu 23,000 from the Bhutan Development Bank Limited, Nu 10,000 from the Bank of Bhutan and some from parents and well wishers. “Social media forum especially facebook has helped the retreat in spreading its messages and getting support in terms of drinking water and refreshments,” he said.