On 12th March 2022, Literary Club announced an online reading competition on Facebook. The competition held from 17th -23rd March was in celebration of ‘World Folktale and Fables Week.’ Folktale and Fable Week, celebrated in the third week of March each year, is dedicated to encouraging and inspiring children and adults alike to explore the multitude of lessons that can be learnt from folktale, fables and myths.
Acknowledging the effects the pandemic has had on the world around us and the numerous technologies that would allow for a lively and innovative spin on the competition, the open competition asked participants of all ages to record themselves reading a folktale and share it on social media. The online format was also a means to encourage literary discourse on a wider level and showcase the power of reading with the theme of “Healing with reading.”
Reading folktales is a great way for children to explore different cultures and enhance their literary skills, and the organisers hoped to highlight reading indigenous folktales as a tool to preserve culture. Through the 7-day competition, participants read different Bhutanese folktales. Some readings included internationally popular L. Frank Baum’s The Box of Robbers and the Grimm Brother’s Snow White and Seven Dwarfs while others choose to look closer to home and read Bhutanese folktales. Bhutanese titles included The Princess with three Breasts by Azhi Kuensang Choden, The Monkey and the Old Couple by Kuenzang Dawa, The Right Thing by Karma Tshering and Exchanging Turquoise For Happiness by Dorji Penjor among others. In addition to reading, some participants shared lessons learnt from their reading while others discussed the stories literary significance.
One of the participants stated that the completion is ‘inspiring the youths to read and participate in such competitions and hopes that she can be a part of similar competition in future, while a participant’s parents commented that the event was enriching and have given their children opportunity to develop confidence.
The results were based on the numbers of likes on the video post combined with the judges’ score. Pema Yetho Seldon of Zilukha Middle Secondary School with her endearing reading of A Bamboo by Kuenzang Choden bagged the first prize, followed by Sonam Wangmo of Kuzhugchen Middle Secondary School and Kinley Yangdon of Kabesa Central School.
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