Boosting Readership in the Philippines: The National Alliance of Reading Advocates

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The National Alliance of Reading Advocates: Boosting Readership in the Philippines

The National Book Development Board (NBDB) in the Philippines has taken a significant step towards promoting a strong reading culture in the country. Recognizing the decline in readership, the NBDB has established the National Alliance of Reading Advocates (NARA), a unified network that brings together readership advocacy groups and individuals from all corners of the country. Led by Daniel Mariano, the head of the NBDB Readership Development Division, NARA aims to nurture a robust national reading culture and address the pressing issue of declining readership.

A Platform for Readership Advocacy

Mariano describes NARA as a platform dedicated to fostering a community of reading advocates who support one another. The alliance aims to consolidate readership campaigns from various regions and promote cross-media adaptations of Philippine literary works. Additionally, NARA seeks to create fan-based markets and popularize homegrown literary characters. By bringing together like-minded individuals and organizations, NARA aims to create a cohesive strategy to combat the decline in readership.

Addressing the Decline in Readership

The decline in readership, particularly in nonschool books, has become a cause for concern in the Philippines. The NBDB’s national survey conducted in 2023 revealed a notable decrease in the number of Filipino adults and children reading nonschool books. In 2017, 80 percent of Filipino adults reported reading nonschool books, but by 2023, this number had dropped to a concerning 42 percent. Similarly, only 47 percent of children reported reading nonschool books in 2023.

NBDB Executive Director Charisse Aquino-Tugade emphasizes the urgency of addressing this reading crisis. She acknowledges the systemic problem in building and nurturing reading habits within society and emphasizes the need for a cohesive strategy to tackle the issue.

Collaboration and Commitment

During the recently concluded Philippine Book Festival held at the World Trade Center Manila, various reading advocacy groups and individuals pledged their commitment to the National Alliance of Reading Advocates. Recognizing the power of stories in different forms such as film, television, and literature, Daniel Mariano calls upon all allies to enrich this interest in stories and utilize it to create a stronger national reading culture.

Insights and Commentary

The establishment of the National Alliance of Reading Advocates is a significant step towards addressing the decline in readership in the Philippines. By bringing together diverse reading advocacy groups and individuals, NARA creates a platform for collaboration and knowledge sharing. This unified network allows for the consolidation of readership campaigns, fostering a sense of community among reading advocates.

Furthermore, NARA’s focus on cross-media adaptations of Philippine literary works and the promotion of homegrown literary characters speaks to the importance of cultural preservation and representation. By encouraging the creation of fan-based markets, NARA aims to generate interest and enthusiasm for local literature, ensuring its continued relevance and popularity.

The decline in readership, as highlighted by the NBDB’s national survey, calls for immediate action. The significant drop in the number of Filipino adults and children reading nonschool books is a cause for concern. It is crucial to address the systemic issues that hinder the development of reading habits and engage in a cohesive strategy to reverse this trend.

The commitment shown by various reading advocacy groups and individuals during the Philippine Book Festival demonstrates the collective determination to promote a stronger reading culture. By utilizing the power of stories and leveraging different mediums, NARA aims to create an environment where reading becomes a cherished and widely embraced activity.

In conclusion, the National Alliance of Reading Advocates plays a vital role in boosting readership in the Philippines. Through collaboration, cross-media adaptations, and the promotion of local literature, NARA seeks to reverse the decline in readership and foster a thriving national reading culture. With the commitment of passionate individuals and organizations, there is hope for a brighter future where reading becomes an integral part of Filipino society.

Source: The Manila Times

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