Chhimi Dema

An initiative to inspire reading called 10 Pages a Day Reading Journey has gathered 3,021 participants as of last week.

The online initiative of VTOB: Teachers of Bhutan Volunteers encourages participants to read at least 10 pages a day.

The coordinator Sonam Norbu, a teacher in Lobesa LSS, Punakha, said, “Inspired by His Majesty The King’s wisdom to read 10 pages a day, we started the initiative themed “wellreadbhutan” on June 7 through social media.”

Participants consist of students, teachers, homemakers, non-government and government employees, writers and journalists.

Most of the participants consist of students with 48 percent and teachers with 28 percent.

Sonam Norbu said that the initiative was a long term project to inspire, motivate and consistently develop a strong reading habit culture.

“I feel reading should be more than a good habit- it can be a lifestyle!” he said.

A teacher in Thimphu, Benita said that she received positive feedback from her students on the initiative. “Some students usually would only read for classroom lessons, but this initiative will enable them to go beyond classroom learning,” she said.

Sonam Norbu said that prizes and different motivations are in place to encourage successful, consistent and more participants.

A teacher in Samtse, Pema Yangzom,  said, “This initiative would help build a reading culture and encourage students and adults to start reading instead of stress-scrolling to Covid-19 updates.”

Parents are interested in their children’s reading habit because of this initiative. This parent-children partnership exhibits the positive impact of this initiative she said. 

Participants are required to send monthly data of their reading logs. VTOB will also conduct book review competitions and book talks.

A final-year student Yeshey Tobgyel said that reading 10 pages a day would be an achievement.  Despite his study duties, he is committed to reading at least 10 pages a day.

Tshering Dolkar from Punakha said that the initiative has encouraged her daughter in the fifth standard to read more and stay engaged. The initiative has helped her daughter to improve reading skills and influenced to write her own stories, she said.

The VTOB team also plans on developing a reading app and collaborate with various stakeholders to sustain the initiative.

The initiative is supported by Drukyul’s Literature Festival, The Reading Retreat, Bhutan Street Library, iBEST Entertainment, READ Bhutan and Miza Books.