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Radio plays a key role in emphasizing reading

Date Posted: 2009-07-16

A local Okinawa community is resurrecting the time-honored tradition of reading aloud to children, and carrying it to new heights.

A community center on Uruma City’s Henza Island is running a community radio show—has been for 21 years, in fact—and is stimulating more interest in reading and in public speaking. The children who visit the community center to listen to stories from books are now getting chances to be the readers themselves, speaking into the radio microphones.

The ‘Picture Story Show’ airs regularly, and is gaining popularity. Mothers are contributing as reads each day at dusk, but the kids are clamoring for more and more opportunities, too. Even the school system is weighing in, recommending all children be given opportunities to read in front of microphones, learning to use their voices, reading politely and with feeling, and modulating their voices.

Even local television talents are getting involved in promoting reading in the prefecture. TV performer Chika Takami is now reading books at each elementary school in Okinawa. She says “reading the stories at dusk makes people mend, and make clean hearts.” Takami says the most important point “is that every child can tell the story, and reach more children who are listening via the radio shows.”

At Henza Island, children are studying and practicing on how to read well, and have been competing with each other. There’s even talk of readings in local dialect, and for having reading competitions.

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