The National Reading Plan had as main objective to raise the literacy levels of the Portuguese people and put the country on a par of our European partners.
This site was about a lectures club, a pioneering project based on the internet, which you wanted to help promote reading habits in Portugal. The Reading Club was integrated into the different actions of the National Reading Plan. The Club was a dynamic space for initiatives related to cultural practices, which seen itself as an aggregation of blogs made by communities that had the ability to share the pleasure for readers and writers to all types of media – from traditional writing to photography, video, computer graphics and sound effects.
The Reading Club was a Web 2.0 initiative, structured by the aggregation of a number of shared individual projects, dynamic links and RSS web.
The Club aimed to create a community space on the Internet, which was situated beyond the traditional concept of place of publication on the network, understood as a mere repository of work.
The Club was a place of sharing, exchanging of experiences, gathering of all those who promoted and enjoyed the pleasure of reading and were interested in extending their cycle of friends and acquaintances.
Those who were interested in signing up as a club member, were entitled to have 1 GB of disk space to store the productions wishing to publish on their blogs and themed lounges.
Members of the Reading Club were entitled to participate in multiple competitions and initiatives promoted by the organization.
Who can be a member of the club?
Anyone between 8 and 888 years of age who were interested in;
- improve reading and writing skills,
- share expertise and knowledge,
- participate in initiatives integrated into multiple forms of reading and writing characteristics of the twenty-first century.
- Starring initiatives in the areas of poetry, fiction, drama, literature, the book reviews written blogs.
When I was growing up and finding my voice as an individual I was introduced to a teacher who took an interest in my poetry because it sounded too deep and profound for a 12 year old. I did not know what that meant, all that I knew was that I was able to bear my soul on a piece of paper than with my own actual voice. Growing up that made me seem like a withdrawn person, shy even and afraid to say the things that I really wanted to say. I remember my English teacher saying that writing is the easiest way to express the things you are afraid to, a great weapon to fight the boogeyman.
Unfortunately sometimes the words get tangled up in the feelings and the feeling become inconsequential by-products of events and the cruel twists that the universe throws at mere mortals. So, I wandered lending myself to the art of being alive, present, drawing breath and having meaningless interactions with people. You never really know that there is something wrong with your life until someone points it out to you even if there’s gnawing pain in your stomach that tells you otherwise. Like when you catch yourself thinking ‘there has to be more than this’. The thought stops there because you aren’t quite sure what ‘this’ is.
Human beings are preoccupied with two things: living or dying, we give the act of dying as singular as it is, more attention than it really deserves. A person contracts types of cancer, a person goes on a healthy diet, a person fights against the types of cancer, a person loses the fight, wastes away and dies. In that pocket of time you could either think of the life lived and those secret dreams that you failed to pursue because of fear, self-doubt or something else.
The end of cancer, like breast cancer for instance, and the ending of your life becomes the single defining moment that actually breathes life and gives you a sense of meaning. I remember something I read in some other book about the poetry of living to die or dying to live (those two sides of the same coin).
Every human being must leave something behind when he passes, a child, a book, a painting, a garden planted, a house built – something that presents that deep part of your soul – whether people see it for what it is or not – something that says you were there and you lived. So long as that something changed another thing from being what it was to being something else. That’s what I thought about on my last chemo session, the one where the doctor says ‘now we wait.’ It was a Tuesday and I had an English class to teach and for the life of me I could not conjure up the synopsis for ‘Catcher in the Rye’.
I had 15 children sitting quietly in the classroom, waiting for me to dissect what I’d always thought to be the ravings of a mad man but was he really mad? Was there a point in the story? Someone had asked that question and I had given a sane answer to that – the same reasoning that my English teacher who thought that that writing, like speech, is something anybody could do. There is a formula in literature, I guess but it takes a special kind of mind and skills to weave a story around that formula to humanize and personalize their own stories.
My job was simple really, all I had to do was to explore and guide young minds into the understanding of how genres works in writing, how texts should be structured, how to use punctuations, the importance of correct spelling and help students learn the techniques of creative writing … and so it goes and so it goes and goes and goes…
The world is full of mad men and most of them are writers and poets. I had been trying to understand this madness and had enlisted the minds of 15 prepubescent children to unravel the madness by reading Hemingway, Fitzgerald, Sylvia Plath, Ralph Ellison, Langston Hughes and Bessie Head – all seemingly unhinged writers who knew a secret to some alternate reality. I had been looking for some magical keystones dragging innocent mind along when I should have been teaching them about plots and form, the structure of a short story, the sound a poem makes in silence.