Monthly Archives: March 2014

The Dearth of Reading

A teenager celebrated her birthday recently and her favourite aunt gave her an attractively wrapped gift. She closed her eyes, held her breath and opened the pack with great excitement, only for her face to drop in shock and disappointment when she saw that it was ‘just a book’.

There’s been a lot of talk about the decline of the reading culture and how books have ‘lost value’.  And one wonders if there is any truth to the claim that people seldom read except for academic purposes. Is it really true that people don’t read anything aside textbooks/school books, which are considered a necessary evil?

Was this the case years ago? One could remember how fashionable it was to read novels in a not so distant past. Teenagers exchanged novels back then, and one was proud to write about the books one had read to pen pals.  Then, young people were proud to belong to book clubs. Book Clubs? It now sounds like something from a fairy tale. Night clubs? Yeah, that sounds more familiar. And fun too.

So, why have books lost their allure? Could it be that there are no more interesting books? Do people have other things that interest them aside books? Have technology advancements become better seducers than books? Nowadays, people would rather spend time on social media and play games on their phones than read a good book.

Perhaps, one way to bring students back to books is to make even educational books less boring. First Veritas titles, from pre-primary school books to secondary books, are well rounded, curriculum-compliant and very engaging. This reduces the apathy of users to reading by a considerable margin.

So, if you were that girl who received a book as birthday gift, what would be your reaction? Enthusiasm or displeasure?

Cultivating Good Reading Habits

Reading is a very important part of any literate person’s life. Whether it is to pass examinations in school or just to get information from the news, everyone needs to cultivate good reading habits. Okay, so we all know this, but the big question is how do we cultivate a good reading habit? Here are a few tips.

  1. Set routines. Have a regular period set to read every day. When you have a reading routine, it helps to gear you up and serves as a reminder to read at the set time.
  2. Always carry a book. Having one book or the other also helps to remind you of the need to read. Whether school books, magazines ore newspapers, have something with you that you can read at your spare time.
  3. Find the perfect place to read. Finding a quiet and secure place to read is also a good reading habit to cultivate. Having a fortress, somewhere you know when you get to, you will relax and concentrate, will go a long way in helping you to read.
  4. Reduce distractions. As much as possible, reduce distractions. Switch off the television, your phone and computer, if you are not reading on it. A lot of time, we think we are reading but our mind is on something else. Reading and answering the phone or watching the television is not a good reading habit, we will never gain anything this way.
  5. Have a reading partner or join a book club. This will help in encouraging you. Having a friend or a buddy to exchange books or ideas with will motivate us to read.

How Far is Too Far (2)

So, when do parents draw the line between influencing and dictating their children’s career? Let’s start with the fact that no parent would want ill for his/her child(ren). Every parent’s interference in his/her children’s choice of career or profession is well-intentioned. It is because they want the best for their wards. However, there ought to be limits and boundaries as well as a certain level of understanding for parents to bring the best out of their children in this regard.

It is true that parents ought to serve as guides and role models for their children. One shouldn’t say because one wants a child to be him/herself, one should let them loose to every wild fantasy they have. Nevertheless, one should give a listening ear to the child in question and ask sincere and practical questions. If you think the child is being unrealistic with his/her dreams or passion, make him/her see the point without making fun of or dismissing the idea.

Also, a lot of parents want to live their lives through their children. This is so unfair. If you have always wanted to be a pilot and never did, you shouldn’t force your child to be one. Likewise, if you were never rich and you had to struggle through school, you should never force your child to choose a career that will ‘fetch’ money fast so that you won’t suffer forever. That is very selfish, as you are not thinking of the child but of yourself.

A career is a very important decision in one’s life. A good way to go about it is to expose a child to a variety of professions, ask and listen to what they would like to do in future and be sensitive to their inclinations and talents.

Which methods have you been exposed to? Please share them in the comment box

How Far is Too Far?

Tony: My parents want me to be a lawyer.

John: Great! But do you want to be a lawyer?

Tony: Not really, but my parents are lawyers and it seem the logical profession to pursue. Who’s going to inherit all those law books?

John: That’s a noble thing to say, Tony. But is that what you really want in life? Is that what will give you the greatest fulfilment in life?

Tony: Frankly, no. My dream is to become a dressmaker. I love fabrics and colour and I love to mix and match. I would really love to be able to create my own designs and see them on people.

John: So, why don’t you simply tell your parents that your passion is in fashion?

Tony: I did.

John: Ok?

Tony: My mum said why don’t I just drop out of school and go and be an apprentice at mama Sidi’s shop and my dad said I should have come as a girl; that no real man would want to do a woman’s job. I wish I could get them to understand me.

Have you ever been in this scenario or witnessed one like it before? Most likely. The question is: Should parents dictate their wards’ profession? A lot of people will say no, but in reality, the opposite is what entails. Ok, should parents influence their wards’ decisions on their careers? A lot of people will say yes. But when do we draw the line between influencing and dictating? Hold the thought.

To be continued…

Bad Reading Habits

It is every educated or lettered person’s dream to be able to read effectively. Whatever one reads, it is important to ensure one reads it properly, with the right habits. We ought to strive to acquire good habits and avoid the bad ones.  Reading aright may be the only learning solutions a lot of school children need. Below are some bad reading habits we should avoid.

  1. Moving your lips when you read. A lot of times, we even do this without knowing it. While reading a book, we say the words aloud. This is a bad reading habit. This is because we have to process each word verbally before our brain comprehends. This slows down reading.
  2. Vocalizing. This is when we say the words in our vocal cords but we do not pronounce them. This habit has the same effect as number one above.
  3. Reading everything at the same speed. Some people have programmed the way they read and so they apply it to every material they read. This however is not ideal as different material requires different reading speed. The way one may read a sports column for instance is not the way one will read a physics textbook.
  4. Regressing/ skipping back/re-reading. This means reading a portion and re-reading it. This implies lack of assimilation.
  5. Reading one word at a time/ word by word. This is also a bad reading habit. It not only slows down the reader but it is also unlikely that the reader assimilates or gets any meaning from the portion he/she is reading. When there is too much concentration on words, the meanings of the sentence or paragraph may be lost on us.

Do you have tips to share, please do so in the comment box.