Fostering book reading culture
The existence of humankind from the cave dwelling to the present state is an evidence of gradual advancement. Knowledge is doing all behind every change and innovation. Book is the prime entity rendering knowledge of all branches required for our survival on earth.
Cultivating book reading culture opens enormous possibilities for the individuals and the society. American novelist George R.R. Martin wrote in one of his books, "A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies; the man who never reads lives only one."
History echoes that over the ages, all the great men who earned popularity went through extensive reading of books. Book reading gave them develop rare qualities to win people's heart. It is evident that the social reformers in different ages patronized for establishing libraries for the people. It was thought that the house without a library was an incomplete one.
In this digital era the world has seen a tremendous advancement in information and technology. Many claim that google is the best teacher but the book worms still find the greatest entertainment in reading books. They think reading book is no alternative. But the scenario of upholding book reading culture is rare in the present context. On top of that, education is being considered through the materialistic lens which hardly contributes to enhancing book reading culture.
Undoubtedly, only by reading one can have a life of different taste. Certainly, an affluent may have scopes to fly around the world and gather some experiences but the knowledge he or she will have is really scanty compared with the knowledge of the avid readers. A traveller may require years to travel around the world but a reader can travel the world through reading a book.
Reading books builds critical thinking and an innovative culture amid the readers. The avid readers can grow the capabilities in them to solve many complex questions compared to those not exposed to reading. Going through a book one can lessen one's sufferings and depression. Not only that, it is the best medicine to prevent one's cognitive decline. It also guides us to lead the future with confidence.
In the early days there was a strong culture growing over reading books. Book reading was the source of spending pastime for many. The learners had no scopes to confine themselves with some prescribed books, rather every learner needed to be an extensive reader of book to cope with the situation.
Certainly, it was a healthy practice contributing to friendly reading atmosphere. The youth used to be devoted to reading books and revitalizing their knowledge despite many limitations. The children of that time used to entertain themselves through reading different childish books and stories.
But it is worrying that the culture of reading book has declined significantly in this digital era. Students prefer using social media to reading books. Their knowledge is confined only to the context of some prescribed text books. Besides, most teachers do not encourage the learners to grow reading habit. They have the only concern to complete the course for a certain time. In most cases, they motivate the learners to memorize important topics to ensure good grades.
Another thing is that when they suggest any book for the students, they mark some pages and tell them to go through. It seems that examination is the only purpose to go through any books.
Even the reading habit of the teachers has declined in the age of digitization. It is supposed that teaching is such a profession in which teachers have no alternative to be the avid readers. But regrettably, teachers are largely dependent on google than books for class materials. Consequently, students find no innovations from their teachers. A recent survey has stated that students these days are more dependent on google than on teaches.
Things get tougher when we see that most parents want their children to get good grades in examinations and they suggest their children to be more precise. Even they are found frustrating when their children show interest in reading other than the books included in curriculum.
On top of that, many students collect guide books for their exam preparation and hardly go through their prescribed text books. Most students at tertiary level of education do not involve themselves in extensive reading, rather they are found dependent on reading some common notes available from their peers and other senior students. This is nothing but a practice of hollowness prevailing in our education.
Studies reveal that over the past some years the major reason of decline in reading habits is due to obsession of internet. One may have all books and magazines easily available free of cost just on one click of the computers key boards. Many use smart phones to collect the necessary materials from different web sources. But electronic reading materials are not safe for reading all the time along with long sitting in front of computers badly affects the eyesight and may pose many health hazards.
Truly, this time the youth hardly visit the library for reading, rather they are confident enough with their smartphones and digital advantages. In many cases, they claim that conventional book reading is boring -some and time-consuming. They get emphasized on e-book and depend on information available online.
They are more addicted to watching YouTube, chatting on Facebook and using other apps for their entertainment. But they do not see any entertainment in reading books. Once children used to read moral stories from Aesop's and other writers but they are no more enjoying those, rather they have been addicted to watching cartoons and other games since their childhood disrupting their creativity and analytical ability.
Research found that the internet addiction of the youth is as like as the addiction to drinking alcohol. The excessive use of social media is a constant threat for creating book reading culture amid the learners.
However, to foster book reading culture amid the learners, family initiatives must come first. Parents have enormous responsibilities to ensure a quality environment to grow children reading habit. Teachers must prioritize students on developing reading habit. More importantly, it is a must to save the learning community from internet addiction.
The writer teaches at Prime University