#Article (Archive)

Adopting reading culture

Apr 13, 2010, 3:47 PM

The need to adopt a culture of reading is quite necessary. It's our collective responsibility to ensure that our children adopt a reading culture.

For our children, especially school-going children reading would help a great deal in enhancing their performance and intelligence. Therefore, they should develop and improve good reading habits and skills.

Providing an informal, interactive forum to children will lead them to improve their reading and writing skills. Making available literature that?s suitable to children will create interest in reading, writing and speaking good English.

The libraries like the American Conner, which was recently inaugurated, will ensure that people have easy access to library and information services. This is a true reflection on the side of the two institutions in encouraging a culture of reading in the community.

The United States Embassy in Banjul has partnered with Comium Gambia Ltd to boost the education sector in The Gambia through the establishment of a library, called the American Corner. The library will provide students and the general public with books, as well as internet access and educative movie shows. The library is located at the Comium building, along Kairaba Avenue.

Libraries of this nature could play a vital role in nation-building as reading liberates the minds of people from all shackles of underdevelopment. Reading culture can best be explained as a learned practice of seeking knowledge, information or entertainment, through the written word. Such practice can be acquired by reading books, journals, magazines, newspapers, etc.

To participate effectively in the moulding of our younger generation, there is a need to inculcate in children the exigency of a reading culture. This should be the primary goal of institutional heads, teachers, parents, and our communities at large.

The declining interest in reading as exhibited by our children today is a cause for alarm and a challenge to all.

Reading is obviously one of the basic things a child begins to do in the early stages of formal education, within the school building. Some children also learn to read from their parents even before they start schooling. It is through reading that children broaden their understanding of life.

Reading opens up a whole new world from which one can mirror one?s surroundings. Reading enables creativity to blossom in the child. It gives them the tools to explore their talents, while learning about themselves and society.

However, there is no doubt that the reading culture among our children is tragically deficient, compared to other Western nations.

Most of us think of reading as a simple, passive process that involves reading words in a linear fashion and internalising their meaning at the same time. But reading is actually a very complex process that requires a great deal of active participation on the part of the reader.

It's true to say that there is a general low level of reading among people in the country.

Reading newspapers, for instance, would help our people to know what is happening in and outside the country.

Parents should encourage their children by providing them good books to read at home and school. Those with access to modern technology, such as the internet should monitor closely and restrict access time for the children. They should remember that "all that glitters is not gold." Technology can also be a source of endangerment for our children's moral growth.

On the contrary, many children care only about passing their examinations - without acquiring the basic knowledge that come with education.

Passing exams alone is not enough. Parents should encourage their children to read extensively for their own betterment.

"A library is a hospital for the mind."