Reading should be encouraged among kids as coronavirus pandemic keeps them at home

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Thu, 9 Jul 2020 Source: Joe Kingsley Eyiah

?Did you know that reading can keep your mind active and engaged well into old age? Reading is considered one of the best habits that one can inculcate in him/her. It leads one to knowledge!

The old Good Book says that ‘for lack of knowledge my people perish’. Yes, knowledge put to use is power. Though knowledge comes to us in many forms, it best comes in the pages of a book. However, we won’t know until we read what is written in the pages. Therefore reading is the key to knowledge. It is said that the one who reads is a leader!

As a parent and a teacher by profession, I can’t overemphasize the importance of reading to the teaching and learning process. Teachers always encourage their students to read. And students who read a lot excel in the academics. It is good to catch them young with reading!

However, now that the COVID-19 pandemic continues to keep our children away from schools it has become the responsibility of parents to encourage their children to take reading seriously at home.

In these times of the ‘new normal’ I am highly impressed by the initiative of one Ghanaian lady living in Toronto who has taken to Facebook every Sunday at 3 pm to READ from books to audience (especially children) from the comfort of her home to the comfort of wherever they would be. This program titled ‘Afternoon Tea Time with Anti Anna’ is catching on well with audiences in the Ghanaian community in Toronto and elsewhere. Thank you very much Lady Anna Owusu Prempeh!

My experience as teacher both in Ghana and in Canada has shown me that most Ghanaian children either don’t like reading or they are not encouraged enough to read. Since reading is an activity with a purpose it stands to reason that READING must done or ‘cultivated’ as a habit.

Reading is done for various reasons. A student may read to gain information; verify existing knowledge or for enjoyment! In all situations, the reader must be able code the words/sentences being read and comprehend the text to make meaning of the context in which it is written.

Some Benefits of Reading:

There are numerous benefits to be derived from reading. Reading a good book can help you forget some of the problems in your life.

One may question: why bother reading while in our present age there is television to give us all the news, and the movies and videos to entertain us? Well, according to author LeAnn R. Ralph, “Developing good reading skills does not only mean that you can read a novel or a nonfiction book or a magazine or newspaper, it also means being able to read - and understand - a credit card contract or an insurance policy. Or the directions for putting together that new shelving unit you just bought. Or the instructions for how to install a new printer to use with your computer. Or the qualifications you need to apply for a job or to take out a loan to buy a house. Or that article you found on the Internet advising consumers about the best, most economical car to buy.”

Other benefits from reading include increasing one’s knowledge based on cultures around the world, which promotes better understanding and acceptance of other peoples. Reading also improves your vocabulary and use of words, and drastically improves concentration and focus. It is said that, the habit of reading ‘brings in lot of discipline and makes us consistent with the habit. We develop habit of learning that brings in scheduling and good management of time’.

Moreover, consistent reading improves the thinking process and makes one more creative.

I, therefore, indulge the pleasure and efforts of parents to encourage their children to do more reading now that we are stuck with them at home due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Columnist: Joe Kingsley Eyiah