by Vijay Garg

There is no doubt that there is no best friend like books are. Somehow in the tech-savvy world, people moved to e-books, and no deep understanding and relevance of reading books exist. Students have multiple options on the Internet like Facebook, Amazon Prime, YouTube, and other platforms to consume content and information in some other forms.

Open Air Online Class without a teacher on a hillock in Lachipora Wildlife Sanctuary. This is the place where students from a number of villages go daily to manage a better 2G internet access. KL Image: Sheikh Mustafa

The importance of reading books, however, is great for the development of the brain and knowledge.

When you read a book, your brain holds the information for a longer period of time. It is a mind-nourishing activity. One can improve fluency in any language by reading as many books as one can that focuses on language. Schools, colleges, institutes, and parents use reading as the main instrument to teach students and impart education. Reading also helps in increasing concentration power.

Students of this generation need everything in one click and due to high impatience level, they are giving up on vital and must activities like reading. Thus, the student’s mental capacity is also decreasing day by day. Their non reading habit has impacted their academic and general knowledge severely.

Students of this age get lonely and depressed very soon. Thus, everyone should motivate students to inculcate the reading habit as reading helps to fight boredom and loneliness. Books will make you travel into numbers, alphabets, stories of angels, science and social science, etc. They will never de-motivate you just like other materialistic things of the world do. Books always stay with a person and help the person in various problematic situations. So, students start reading.

There are, however, some common reasons explaining why the teenage students are uninterested in book reading.

They haven’t found the right book

You might hate when your principal gives you a book to study; as this would not be naturally interesting to you.

Possible solutions: No one hates to read a book; it is just some of us are pickier readers than others.

They Need General Reading Strategies

Possible solutions: Market reading to them; you can take a picture of them reading and share it on Instagram with the caption “Caught Reading” hashtag #caughtreading. Be creative and add passion to it.

They Need Specific Reading Strategies

Possible solutions: Check out their strengths and areas for growth and help them self-assess, then work together to create a set of 4 to 6 reading strategies for them to use flexibly depend on what they are reading.

A 1955 photograph showing the students being taught in an open school.
A 1955 photograph showing the students being taught in an open school.

Reading Can Be Daunting

Reading is fun until students don’t think so much about the test, grades, and reading out loud.

Possible solutions: Do not make them read aloud unless you want to assess the oral fluency. Don’t ask comprehension questions. And also do not always insist that they read on grade level.

The Reading Space Isn’t Right

The place can be too noisy, too quiet, or has too many distractions. Too warm, too cold – we all want some cosy place and environment to read in.

Possible solutions: Create reading spaces in-home or classroom. Ask librarian and media specialist if they have any ideas such as turn the lights down, have bean bags, etc.

They Need a Reason to Read

Possible solutions: Make reading social and its outcomes. Help them see the value of reading and the outcomes of reading. Help them see reading as part of the relationship between what they have and what they want to have.

They have too much else to do

It would be hard to read if you have a million things to do such as you got 10 pages of homework to do.

Possible solutions: Help them create a personalized reading schedule.

Vijay Garg

It’s Not A Habit

Reading is not a habit but willingness. The more they read, the more they will want to read.

Possible solutions: There should be an at-home library of stuff they want to read.

They Have Problems with Phonemic Awareness

If they have phonemic awareness then reading is going to be very hard.

Possible solutions: Apps can’t solve every problem, but they are great for practice.

They Have a Limited Sight Word Vocabulary

This means slow reading speed, which reduces comprehension and makes reading books boring.

Possible solutions: Play Vocabulary games and helps them build a sense of momentum as readers.

They Struggle With Their Own Identity

Students see reading as something that you do at school, rather than being entertained; exposed to new ideas, make friends, etc. Someone who studied engineering is called an engineer, who writes is a writer. But someone who reads is a student.

(Vijay Garg, MSc, Bed has been a Punjab Education Service (PES) officer who retired as a Principal. He has authored a number of text books. He lives in Malout Punjab.)


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