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To read or not to read
The story for you to read today is an excerpt from a longer one about the state of reading in Thailand. It seems there is a problem. Thais don’t like to read. At least that’s what surveys have found. So the writer of today’s story talked with two students and a professor to find out why.
Of carrots and sticks
In the introduction to her story, Kanjariya Sukrung uses the expression ‘carrot and stick strategy’. That is an expression that means ‘you persuade somebody to try harder by offering them a reward if they do, or a punishment if they do not.’ In the expression what is the reward; what is the punishment?
In the first paragraph of the story, what is the carrot for Vasana’s nephew? Is there a stick? Do you think the strategy (plan) worked in that case? The writer says that the strategy does work. What do you think will happen to make Vasana’s nephew begin to enjoy books?
As you read, you will discover the main idea of this story. Is it that Thais are poor readers, or is it that Thai people generally do not enjoy reading?
Find out for yourselves
When you read a story that makes some statements based on surveys, do you ever wonder if the same is true for the people you know? It’s interesting to wonder and even better to find out. That’s what you have a chance to do today.
After you have read today’s story, use the guidelines below to write some survey questions you can ask your colleagues, acquaintances, friends and family.
When you do a survey it is important that everyone ask the same questions in the same way, so cooperate with your classmates or study group friends to write one set of questions.
After you have conducted your survey, total your results together. How do your results compare to those reported in today’s story? Are your acquaintances better read than those in the survey, or do they confirm the survey results?
What does 95 percent mean?
The story states that Thailand’s literacy rate is 95 percent. Does the story indicate how literacy is measured? For example, what does someone have to be able to do to be considered ‘literate’? Is it important in this story for the writer to explain that?
What do you think should be the criteria? What should a ‘literate’ person be able to read, understand and use – simple instructions like those on medicines, a daily newspaper? What should a ‘literate’ person be able to write – his or her name, the information on a government form, a letter asking for a refund from a company, a letter to a newspaper? What would your standard be?
How can people be encouraged to read more for pleasure? Would the carrot and stick approach work for people you know? What kind of rewards would you offer? Work with your classmates or study group friends to make some suggestions that would encourage people to read more for pleasure.
OUR STORY FROM THE BANGKOK POST