It was a common sight not too long ago.
People would flock around public boards encased in glass on pavements, reading newspapers that had been pinned within. Vendors on the street could be seen engrossed in books even as they awaited customers.
Now, we have many more books being printed and sold, but the nation as a whole seems to be losing its reading habit.
To revive this noble pursuit of knowledge, we need to do several things, but the most important of them all is to realize that we cannot inculcate the habit or promote it by printing a lot of books, but by nurturing the habit in each person, each family.
Reading stories to children in bed before they go to sleep is a good first step. It will nurture and develop the habit later on.
Schools can help in different ways, for instance, through story-telling competitions and asking children to take turns to read a
text, putting their feelings into it. They should expand their libraries to include books not only to do with that they teach, but also other things that can capture a child’s interest and imagination. Libraries should be an interesting playground, not a place students have to go to before exams.
Firms and government agencies should also have small bookstores of their own, so that reading will become easier for those who don’t have money to buy books or the time to go to big libraries.
Besides the facilities, we need a strong and clean environment for the reading habit to develop. Concerned government agencies need to quickly set up plans to develop the habit in ten years, 20 years and 30 years.
They have to find out ways to have the public access more books on diverse subjects, keeping them in touch with the latest developments in the world.
Once the opportunities to read follow a person everywhere, the reading habit is more likely to catch on. Each person will, in their own way, make it an essential part of daily life.