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Reviving reading as a wholesome habit

Reviving reading as a wholesome habit

Sara Ali
In this age of mass distraction, reading is like an act of protest.
We'll all agree that our reading habits have become confined to tweets, WhatsApp messages or Facebook updates. As adults, it can still be acceptable; but for children, it is definitely inappropriate they idle time on social media, or if their reading is only centered around course books.
I have been teaching for many years now and the most frequent query from all parents has been how to inculcate the reading habit in their children. Most times, teachers are aghast by the lack of concentration students show in the library, or even during class hours, when assigned a reading task. I still remember the first year a reading club was introduced during school stay back hours. It was quite unpopular among the students.
But why is the habit of reading so important for all of us? Apart from the usual benefit that developing good reading habits is vital for developing a child's academic future, it also helps them develop life skills. It develops the child's vocabulary, giving exposure to words and phrases which are usually not a part of everyday's speech. It helps increase attention span, training them to focus better and for longer periods of time. It also helps them develop an interest in different people, events, activities and cultures around them enabling them to adjust better with whatever life has to offer them later.
How can we develop better readers?
Children should be motivated to follow reading right from a very young age. 'Practise what you preach', should be the key here. As children look up to their parents for everything, a book in their hands will obviously compel them to follow. Instead of handing a device to the child, parents should gift books for all occasions. A family time should be allotted for reading only and a home library should be definitely created. Children should also be encouraged to lend and borrow books with their friends. At family get-togethers too, children should be encouraged to discuss their latest reads. If possible, a library or a reading club membership should be taken, of which the whole family can be a part. Parents should always adhere to the golden rule that their child will discover the passion for reading by being read to, so the earlier they start, the better it would prove to be.
As far as reading in schools is concerned, teachers simply need to follow up with their students, stressing upon the importance of reading, following up with the books which have been read, having a DEAR time(Drop Everything And Read) every day and awarding small tokens of encouragement to those who do well, so as to inspire others in the class. Schools should try to arrange regular book fairs or trips to book exhibitions.
Reading is certainly one element which should form a large chunk of our daily lives. It is like an exercise for the mind and food for the soul. Let's remember when we train our children to develop this healthy habit, we are investing in something beneficial for generations to come.

The author is an academician and an avid Qatar Tribune reader


  • Ishray Mar 08, 2018

    I am agree with sara mam reading is really a fruitful habit which can be developed in our children at the early stage. But how this tool should be available in your next article mam . I am looking for your next knowledgeable and interesting a piece of writing. Thanks for excellent effort