Inculcating a Reading Culture

The month of July has been declared a reading month. Those with a penchant for reading  look forward enthusiastically to acquire more reading materials to enhance their knowledge.

Reading is an enriching exercise for both mind and heart. The fundamental value of reading is to satisfy intellectual and spiritual demands while enhancing cultural awareness. Reading causes thinking and the thinking  process begins with ideas says Francis Darek.

Horace Mann wrote “A house without books is like a house without windows.” Books open various windows of the mind and provides us with new insights. Each book takes us on a journey exploring new ideas, realities and solutions to problems encountered.

Parents should play a model role in inculcating good reading habits. The sparks of curiosity ignited at a tender age will blossom into a lifelong passion for reading and quest for knowledge. By cultivating the reading habit, one can acquire knowledge and increase one’s self esteem while enjoying the pleasure of language. The lack of a reading habit suggests poverty of thought and culture.

It is interesting to note that in terms of reading, Malaysia ranked 58 out of 64 countries. In comparison Singapore ranked third.

The reading habit must be inculcated by example and not programes. It should be adopted organically not mechanically. It is a form of culture and art; not science. Reading should not be portrayed as something mundane, boring or a waste of time. Aside from parents, schools too have an obligation to develop reading habits and build a concrete reading culture among students. The school curriculum must be designed and shaped towards good reading habits.

The time is ripe for changes and mindset. The current invasion and implementation of our Malaysian Education Blueprint 2013-2025 must emphasise effective reading skills. We cannot change the people around us, but we can change the people that we choose to be around. We need a society with a thirst for knowledge.

“The hearts of men are their books. Events are thier tutors. Great actions are their eloquence” says Thomas Macaulay. Our minds are like a garden (BOOKS). Our thoughts are our seeds (READING MATERIALS). To reap a good fruitful harvest (KNOWLEDGE) reading is essential. Books are a more reliable source of information. Reading can take place  anywhere, at any time and under any circumstances.

R. James Ratnam
Educationist and Social Activist
President Love and Welfare Society Kinta
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