Reading the best recreational activity for children, says education minister

By Kuan-lin Liu, The China Post

TAIPEI, Taiwan — The National Central Library hosted its fourth annual Taiwan Reading Festival on Saturday. The festival, which began at 9 a.m., kicked off with an opening ceremony with prewritten remarks from President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) delivered by the library’s director Tseng Shu-shien (曾淑賢) and in-person remarks from Education Minister Pan Wen-chung (潘文忠).

In her remarks, Tsai recognized the Ministry of Education and local governments for the important work they had done to promote reading across the nation.

Tsai underscored the importance of reading by saying that reading and the cultural knowledge from books were at the core of the country’s development. She said that collaboration among government, publishing companies, libraries and authors had made the reading festival a reality.

Following Tsai’s remarks, Pan also gave a speech about the importance of reading. “Reading is the best recreational activity for children. It is the best gift a parent can give to a child,” Pan said.

During the ceremony, Pan gave out achievement awards to Tainan City Mayor Lai Chin-der (賴清德) and Douliou County Magistrate Hsieh Shu-ya (謝淑雅) for the work they had done to modernize libraries and improve reading environments.

Closing off the Zhongshan South Road corner and the adjoining first section of Guiyang Street for the day, the festival featured 35 booths that promoted reading with different activities. With interesting themed booths featuring children’s books, QR code book search challenges and even a VR experience, National Central Library said it intended for each booth to be interactive and family-centered to show children and adults just how interesting reading could be.

Thousands of participants were given a “passport” at the start of the festival. As they made their way through the 35 booths, attendees could collect stamps for completing activities at each booth. In conjunction with the festival taking place in Taipei, 17 counties across Taiwan hosted reading activities of their own at local libraries. These events were livestreamed on Facebook to show support for the 2015 Taiwan Reading Festival.