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The NARATIV Festival, now in its fifth edition, is organized by the Curtea Veche Association
The NARATIV Festival, now in its fifth edition, is organized by the Curtea Veche Association, and is endorsed by the Bucharest school inspectorate. In terms of figures, it runs over 2 days, and it involves 30 educators and 100 free workshops for students.
Iren Arsene, director of the Curtea Veche Publishing House, and president of the Curtea Veche Association, told us about it:
“We want to help kids to get closer to books, to reading in general. On March 25 and 26, at the Central School National College, we will have over 30 different workshops, which, when repeated, will number 100 in number, where kids between 7 and 14 will take part in various workshops led by actors, teachers, chemists, people who are good at their jobs, who will be able to tell them that all jobs are based on a book or several books. We are talking about workshops for acting, anatomy, comic books, and sports. We have to give kids the message that reading is a pleasant activity. The way we do that is that, while kids are in their workshops, their parents can sit down with psychologists who can give them ideas about reading for pleasure, how we can start that, and then maintain that habit.”
The Curtea Veche Association was set up in March of 2014, in order to develop independently and continuously the social responsibility activities started by Curtea Veche Publishing, through the national alternative reading program The Books of Youth, which aimed at increasing interest among kids and youth for reading, raising the level of understanding of texts, and increasing consumption of books in Romania. We asked Iren Arsene about the participation in the NARATIV project:
“At the edition we had before the pandemic, we had 1,500 students over the weekend. We hope to have the same this time, 100 workshops with 15 to 20 children per workshop.”
Iren Arsene believes we have to encourage children to turn them into readers:
“If we don't help them, then we cannot have any expectations, because you know how many possibilities they have these days. So, of we teach them, if we can somehow instill in them this habit, then they are sure to read. Adults are also responsible for this, and this is why we try to do our duty, and tackle reading from several directions. For instance, we can make a theater play out of a text, we can teach debate, we can teach them how to talk about books from the universal corpus. And if they get the bug, they will be reading. But, if this does not happen in school, and it does not happen in the home, and if children don't have another ways of being closer to books, then they gradually move away from books when they finish schooling.”
Some of the workshops proposed by the NARATIV Festival are debate, acting, improv, comic books, storytelling, creative writing, but also programming, ecology, astronomy, chemistry, and physics, and even financial literacy.
Children can register online for their preferred workshop, and not for just one. Each of them will be 50 minutes long, followed by a break. The little ones will be encouraged to ask questions and discuss freely, stimulating their thinking and their communication skills. For instance, in the workshop called Story Journalist, they are invited to explore a text alongside director Barna Nemethi, discovering the secrets of storytelling through investigation techniques which will spark their curiosity and interest for reading.
Through dialog with parents, the latter can find out what are the best methods by which they can encourage their kids to discover the joy of reading, taking part in the conference How the Habit of Reading is Gained, held by psychologist Nora Neghina.
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