“Books are the quietest and most constant of friends; they are the most accessible and wisest of councillors, and the most patient of teachers”– Charles W. Elio
According to Stats SA: Nearly half of South Africa’s children have never read a book with a parent. This information is very alarming considering the importance of reading; especially at an adolescent stage. There are various factors which have led to the peaking of these disappointing statistics.
Language and literature is essential when it comes to communication. One of the best ways to nurture the brain is simply by picking up a book and reading. The advantage of this is that: it expands your vocabulary, you are able to expose yourself to new and relevant data, you are able to get a broader perspective on things that interest you, you are able to make your way into wise author’s heads and receive crucial advice that can improve your life. The list is endless.
Many parents take their children to school and assume that the information that their kids grasp from educators is sufficient. Which results in them not reading with their kids at home. Other reasons are that: parents become too pre-occupied that reading does not become a priority (cooking, cleaning, laundry etc.), lack of experience as well – some parents never had the opportunity of reading with their parents when they were young so when they don’t read with their kids it seems normal or right. Technology is another huge factor. A child would rather have their eyes glued on the TV screen than on a book. “Monkey see monkey do” – kids copy almost everything that they see, so if they don’t ever see their parents reading then they won’t do so either. Some kids are unfortunate not to grow with a parent or parents.
“Any book that helps to form a habit of reading, to make reading one of his deep and continuing needs, is good for him,” said Maya Angelou. So parents need to learn and asses their kids carefully, they need to speak to them regularly about their interests, then compile a variety of books based on their interests and then give their kids the responsibility to choose the books for themselves.
Reading is the building block of education and the sooner parents take the initiative to assist their children at a young age the better.
By: Lethukukhanya Mlaba