Reading is the heart of education, the knowledge of almost every subject in school flows from reading. One must be able to read the word problems in maths to understand it. If one cannot read the science or social studies chapter, one cannot answer the questions at the end of the chapter. The computer manual which is essential to its operation may be complicated, but it must be read. Reading is arguably the single most important social factor in any society.
‘the more you read, the more you know; the more you know the smarter you grow; the smarter you are, the longer you stay in school; the longer you stay in school, the more qualified you become and this will then lead to a better earning and a better life.’Pat Kozyra
In today’s world of technology, enjoying reading is losing its charm with students. They have lost the patience to relax and read, empower their minds with knowledge.
I am reminded of a program in our School – DEAR (Drop Everything and Read) compulsory activity – Monday Mornings after assembly – Zero Period – 20 minutes – everyone (including the class teacher) – just sit quiet and READ – whatever they felt like. After doing it for many Monday’s for maybe a year or so – all students and teachers found it to be a nice way to increase vocabulary; improve pronunciations; be able to read better and increase one’s comprehension.
When we read a book, our mind moves from real life to reel life; we start visualizing and this is the first step to any form of learning. There are certain things that parents can do at home to help their child to read:
- Become a good reading role model for your child. Let your child see you reading something every day. The child is likely to ape the parent’s behaviour, and we have to be cautious of what we practise and not simply keep preaching.
- Some families set aside a family reading time each day when the TV and cell phones are off and everyone is reading something, no matter what the age.
- Make a variety of reading materials available at home.
- It is never too early to get your child interested in the newspaper.
- Subscribe to a family magazine or several children’s magazines.
- Start a family library and add 10 books for each member each year.
- Better still, when you go shopping, you may have the option to drop off your child at the nearby bookstore/library, giving them the perfect opportunity to simply browse.
- Be encouraging and praise the child’s effort to read; do not keep pointing out errors.
- Read to your child every day. Some experts say, ‘Do not stop reading to your child until he or she is in university!’
- Read bedtime stories.
- Have books in the car.
- Take books to appointments to read while waiting.
- Read books while relaxing in the park.
- Hook the child on to a series and make them collect books of one author or theme.
- Label objects around your home to help your child learn a sight vocabulary.
- Whenever you look around, wherever you will see the written word—signboards, directions, name plates—keep observing and absorbing.
The list of suggestions and things-to-do is endless; we simply have to make it a habit and enjoy it. All children and adolescents must have access to quality books, no matter what their race, economic status or capabilities.
Reading inspires confidence, bridges the differences between people, and forms a fundamental stepping-stone to better communication skills. We believe it is the single most important skill a child can develop to become a productive member of society.
Books open children’s minds to a world of possibilities, while stimulating their intellect, imagination and intelligence, especially during their formative years.