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Luang Prabang Library Boat Attracting more Young Readers

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The Lao Children’s Library Boat in Luang Prabang province is using books with easy to interpret stories and illustrations which are attractive to children to encourage more reading in remote communities.

Many of the stories focus on nature and the environment, health and nutrition, and family and friends. These books are written to make them more interesting and entertaining for children, with story themes revolving around children’s daily lives.

The library boat is operated by the Community Learning International (CLI) project and continues to deliver books to children in the province’s rural communities who live in villages along the Mekong and Ou Rivers.

Library boat official, Ms Chantha Soyliyasack told Vientiane Times , in the first 9 months of this year, two library boats had delivered a large number of books and stationery to some 100 riverside villages.

She said over 1,000 new books were provided for children and some books are kept in the boat. However, the number of books is not enough for the eager children.

Project volunteers travel twice a month to reach 15 villages along the target rivers with the boat usually staying at a village for a few days.

It’s estimated that on each visit some 40-50 children borrow books to read on the boat while some read books on the riverside, Ms Chantha said, and the number of children interested in the books was increasing.

She detailed how the boat delivered more than 3,000 Lao language books along the Mekong River, while the boat travelling along the Ou River could carry more than 1,000 books.

We have storybooks for children and agricultural handbooks for adults as well as other kinds of books. The boats serve disadvantaged children who would otherwise never have books in their hands. Boat staff also teach life skills classes, learning activities and lessons such as good sanitation, as well as engaging the children in fun and games, she added.

Books are virtually non-existent in these remote locations, so CLI’s book boats’ also distribute more than 100 portable library book bags’, each containing about 100 books, to rural primary schools that have no other access to such resources.

According to a project official, Lao Children’ Library Boat project has been running in LuangPrabang province since 2002. Thousands of children in the province’s rural communities have benefitted from the activities.

Meanwhile, Vientiane Ti mes asked a publishing company staff member in the capital about trends in children’s reading habits. She said in the past there were not enough children’s books and most children weren’t as interested in reading anyway.

Nowadays the growth in children’s books has occurred because most parents are keen to get their children reading educational and storybooks that can help them with their development, she said.

Source: Vientiane Times