“Reading brings us unknown friends” – Honoré de Balzac
At a time when we are keeping social distance and with schools closed, perhaps the only friends we
can make are literary ones.
Celebrating books and reading
There are specific dates in the calendar for all sorts of events and commemorations. From Labour
Day to National Blueberry Popsicle day in the US, there seems to be no restrictions to what we can
celebrate. One of the days is World Book Day. World Book Day, also known as World Book and Copyright Day, or International Day of the Book, is
an annual event organized by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization to promote reading, publishing, and copyright. This is marked on the 23 rd of April. Wikipedia.
At Turi, we endeavour to make every day, book day. Reading for leisure is a culture heavily promoted within our walls, under trees, in the library or any corner one can find!
Leisure reading serves more purpose than improving literacy skills. According to independent research “Leisure reading can help to increase empathy and improve relationships with others. It also helps improve mental health and overall well-being. There is a correlation between reading for pleasure regularly and lower levels of stress and depression.
Besides health benefits, reading for pleasure also has social benefits. It can help improve a sense of connection to the wider community. Reading increases understanding of one’s own identity improves empathy and can give an insight into the worldviews of others.”
From inspiring auto-biographies to futuristic concepts in science fiction, blogs, comics and even religious text, there is so much read for those who have access.
According to this report
“To ensure that students experience the benefits of leisure reading, teachers and families should support students’ reading choices by making available a wide range of print, digital, and multimodal texts that align with and expand on students’ interests and that students are able to read without great struggle.”
Are readers born or made?
That’s the big question. Certainly the environment in which a child grows determines their appreciation for independent reading. Being around adults who enjoy and encourage reading for leisure is highly likely to influence the younger ones to do the same.
Unfortunately, statistics show that reading for leisure is on the decline world-wide which according to the reading agency means a decline in mental and physical health.
Like any other life-long habit or principle we want to impress on our children, it’s imperative to start early. In the early stages of schooling before they can read, reading to children is one way of getting
them to love “reading”. As they grow older and can read independently time needs to set aside for out-of-class reading even if that is in class. Reading fairy tales and comic books is not a waste of time. In fact it has been proven that leisure reading to have a direct impact on educational outcomes.
With the unfortunate circumstances Covid 19 has placed us all in, this might be the time to catch up on our reading. This applies to adults too. So how can adults promote love for reading?
1) Make the environment suitable reading
This goes beyond providing books. Ensure that children have the time and space for reading. Is the TV off? Are they comfortable?
2) Encourage interest in a wide range of subjects
Open their minds to the diverse subjects and cultures that exist- have them read more than The Diary of A Wimpy Kid- newspapers, magazines, blogs (with the necessary safety precautions in place), autobiographies, religious books like the bible
Whether fiction or current affairs, encourage conversations around what they and you are reading. This boosts their analytical skills and curiosity to learn more.
4) Get creative
Encourage them to bring words into life. This can be through dramatizing what they read, writing their version of a story’s ending, dressing up as their favourite character or even watching a movie based on a book and comparing the two.
5) Recognize and reward
Reinforcing this habit just like any other requires positive reinforcement. Depending on your child’s needs and attitude towards reading, give them a reason to want to read some more
e.g an extra hour of TV for finishing a book.
One of the days we reinforce the love for reading is celebrating Book Day every term. This Easter term Turians and their teachers came to class dressed as their favourite characters from books written by three beloved authors: Roald Dahl, Dr Seuss and Charles Dickens.
Aside from a little drama and distraction by each other’s choice of dress and character, it was also a chance to learn more about the authors.
This quarantine season, you can have your own Book Day. What books line your shelves? What are your favourite characters?
It’s the time to read.