Kindling the love of reading among Khmer children in Cambodia
Aside from catching up with latest, major news stories of the day, I read my favorite tech news websites, long form stories on Medium, and some books. As a father of two kids, I always keep looking for interesting children’s books for them. At 7 years old, my son starts reading short stories in Khmer language. As most parents, we want to instill the love of reading among the young children. The National Reading Day in Cambodia happens once a year. It’s an opportunity to bring my kids to enjoy the book fair at the National Library in Phnom Penh. How to have more interesting, educational materials for the kids to read and learn day in day out?
Fortunately, I’ve got some friends in the Cambodian tech community. One of them introduced me to Khmer KorKa Kids app, which through artwork and audio, helps children learn basic Khmer alphabets, consonants, and vowels. Lately, another well-connected friend has put in the loop of an interesting initiative and rich resources of children’s books available online. On Let’s Read website, it’s easy to download some Khmer language books for my kids to read. What I really like about the online resource is the availability of both EPub (for Kindle e-reader) and PDF files for tablet for great quality, colorful illustrations.
During my spare time, I’d go the website https://reader.letsreadasia.org/ and download some Khmer language books (ePub files) to transfer to a Kindle e-reader. This would allow my kid to have some ebooks to read during the weekend. A few things I like (and my kid may also like) about some of the books I’ve read:
- Illustrations that come along with the text (usually short).
- Conversational stories that feature tips and advice. For instance, in a book titled “ងូតទឹកភ្លៀង” or Rain shower, while a boy (Soley) and and a girl (Sreylam) enjoy the rain, Sreylam told Soley to be cautious after a thunderstorm not to touch any metal objects.
- The illustrations in the books are beautifully colorful. However, I still prefer to load them on a black and white e-reader as its screen is more comfortable to read. No glare.
The future is digital. These days, kids may have much more screen time than ever before. For most parents, it’s essential to be in the know of these useful online educational resources and apps.
When I started blogging in 2004, I had to go an Internet cafe (on my way home after a full day work). Spending half a dollar for an hour on an old computer desktop, I could go online to read and write. Back then, mobile Internet like 3G was a new term and not widely accessible.
When I look back and see the contrast between then and now, I appreciate the convenience that I’ve got today. At home, I’ve got a fast Fiber internet connection. Away from home, I’m always online through my smartphone. Like most people, I use my mobile Internet for instant messaging, tweeting, and reading. What can we read when we’ve got the mobile Internet for grant everyday, every minute?