A passion that lives on
The latest edition of Argentina’s National Reading Marathon is a collaborative effort between families and schools to give the youngest readers the chance to discover the worlds lying in books. Tecpetrol has been sponsoring the organizer of the event, Fundación Leer, for many years.
New worlds emerge each time one opens a book, the reason why the chance to dive into the world of reading can change one’s life. The National Reading Marathon is a yearly event that brings schools and organizations working in the field of children’s education together to awaken a passion for reading, using a range of different tools and materials. Under the motto “From the amazing to the impossible: when the doors of the fantastic open”, the latest edition of the event was held on September 29, featuring fantasy fiction—and including Tecpetrol as one of the main sponsors.
“We dream of a country where all children have access to books, where they can read and enjoy reading. A country where literacy and the love of books open the doors to a better future. We work together with families, schools, community centers, companies and various different organizations,” explains Patricia Mejalelaty, the director of Fundación Leer, an NGO founded in 1997 that specializes in developing reading strategies for children.
The Marathon’s main goal is to foster a passion for reading—even if only once a year. However, the mediators, both parents and teachers, can use the platform that has evolved on the Leer Foundation website all year around. Reading 20-20, a competition organized on the 20th anniversary of the foundation, was a challenge aimed at families to encourage them to read 20 books, and all the children and young people who achieved this goal were duly rewarded with prizes. Today, the initiative is dedicated to providing teachers with more assistance in and outside the classroom.
"We decided several years ago to lend our support to the platform and the reading festival as a way of celebrating the need to read. It encourages people to share the pleasure of plunging into imaginary worlds, and also as a tool to help them understand texts, to be able to interpret what they read when they study," said Pablo Martellotta, Community Relations Corporate Manager to Tecpetrol Hoy. He went on to list the different ways in which the company has accompanied the Fundación Leer over the years.
"We began working with them some 20 years ago in different modalities. For instance, we held readings at in-person events in public spaces with our volunteers, we donated books to libraries and provided courses for teachers, and we also collected together materials to create reading corners. These aren’t libraries but rather a recreational-play space, often decorated with characters from a story, assembled in joint fashion by parents, children and teachers, where students go to read," Martellotta added. Reading corners have been set up in schools in Neuquén, Comodoro Rivadavia, Catriel and Salta.
The Fundación Leer numbers are compelling:
> 2,550,233 children and young people benefited from its programs
> 2,601,276 children’s and young adult books reached schools and other non-formal education organizations
> 30,095 adults received training in reading and writing teaching strategies
> 4,475 new reading spaces have been endowed with books.
"The support we provide in this way is a complement to our CORE programs, enabling us to reach children in a colorful and dynamic way using STEM elements (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics), where recreational aspects are matched with technical ones," concluded Martellotta. "We know that what they do, they do very well."