Knowledge is Power: The importance of reading

Recently, a teacher gave pupils a project which needed a bit of research.  In discussing the requirements of the project, the pupils were required to visit the local library to get information.

Surprisingly, about 40 percent of the pupils indicated that they have not seen the inside of a library.  Many said they would get the information from the internet.  Are libraries slowly becoming obsolete or white elephants? I hope not.

Parents play a critical role in instilling in children the passion for reading from a young age.  It is equally important for parents to lead by example in this regard.

Making time in their busy schedule to go to the library together creates an ethos and a culture for reading.  Creating an environment for reading in the home is crucial for pupils to inculcate a love for books and for reading.

Parents should demarcate a reading time, where the entire family sits together and each reading their own piece of reading material for at least half an hour per day or even per week.  For very young children, parents can start by reading to them.

Children must see reading as a fun activity. Do not give children a reading activity as a form of punishment.  If you do, then they will perceive reading to be a negative activity and not look forward to it.  Rather use positive reinforcement strategies to encourage children to read.

Children must enjoy what they read.  They must choose books that are at their reading level.  They must start with simple reading material and gradually increase the level of the books they read.

Reading has various advantages. The important benefits being they improve children’s vocabulary, their speaking skills and as well as their writing skills.

By improving in these areas children tend to have a positive outlook to learning and to life in general.  Children can also travel the world or even the universe through the wonders of books.  Through inculcating a love for books children will inevitably improve in all subjects at school.

Remember and follow the cliché, ‘A reading nation is a winning nation.’ Comments and suggestions can be emailed to [email protected]


Dr J Naidoo

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