Reading for pleasure is a habit on the decline. Children at present don’t see their parents reading and thus, they too, stay away from books, said several teachers and an author addressing an online session on parenting held recently.
The decline of daily reading habits among children came up during the session. Teachers agreed that unless children see adults around them reading, they would not do so themselves.
The pandemic has added to the problem. With schools closed, students have lost access to the library, a routine activity that would prompt them to read.
“Lots of parents are not readers. How can they ask their children to read?” asked Shubhra Shah, author and psychotherapist.
She was a speaker at a webinar on “Know your Child’s Worth”, organised by BD Memorial for parents and guardians of students of Classes I and II.
“Please teach your child to read. The habit will stay if it is imbibed at an early stage…. You must get them books and make them read those,” said Shah.
The mother of a 7-year-old and a 9-year-old said she had bought her children several books but they did not read them.
“Take away the mobile phone and switch off the television and if needed, sit with them to make them read,” said Shah.
The mobile phone has become a constant companion and it’s difficult to even wean adults from them, said teachers.
“If a child sees people around them taking a book to bed and not watching soap operas or web series on mobile phones, they, too, would be inclined to read,” said Nupur Ghosh, vice-principal of Mahadevi Birla World Academy.
“Because parents don’t have the habit of reading, they do not take interest in developing the habit in their children. As against those parents who read and will make an effort to buy age-appropriate books for their kids,” said Ghosh.
The director of BD Memorial, Suman Sood, said adults needed to curb their use of mobile phones.
“If adults bring some discipline in their lives, it will pass on. Children emulate their parents. If they see parents reading, they, too, will read,” said Sood, who is also a member of the national core committee of Early Childhood Association, a forum of schools for pre-primary education.
“If you are a far-sighted parent, you will make an effort to find some time to read with your children. Once the child develops love for reading, there will be no need for any guidance,” she said.