We already know that regular reading is vital to improving students' literacy skills and overall academic performance. However, reading has many benefits far greater than academic achievements as measured by a USA study.
Research results find that people who read are more empathetic towards their fellow beings and more willing to be curious and open toward others that may look or live differently than themselves. Additionally, research results show that readers are better able to cope with stress and trauma by finding stories like their own in the pages of a book. Reading increases our understanding of our own identity, improves empathy, and gives us an insight into the world view of others.
Reading used to mean sitting down with a book and turning pages as a story unfolded. However, today it would mean sitting down with a device. In a review of existing research and data, Common Sense Media found an abundance of evidence pointing to worrisome trends in children's reading habits and abilities in recent decades. However, research studies have yet to establish how increasingly prevalent digital reading technologies, such as e-readers and tablet computers, affect students' reading habits.
Recent research shows that thirty-two percent of children ages 15 to 17 read no books over the summer, compared with 22 percent in 2016. The number of 9- to 11-year-olds who do not read doubled, from 7 percent to 14 percent. How do we stop this further slide in reading culture?
Some of these strategies can be helpful to instill reading habit in our community:
We need more libraries: If we want a reading culture in our community, we must begin by literally wrapping our people in books. Books that people would love to read. We need libraries in schools, homes and in community centers that have an enticing collection.
Adults participate in book talks: It is an effective strategy in getting people to read more books. When we shift towards more independent reading in a school, teachers and other adults can give book talks. Book talk helps with a sense of excitement and creates a fear of missing out on reading.
We need to make books more visible: Having more displays of featured books in classrooms, schools, colleges, workplaces, community centers can play an important role. Bulletin boards featuring the newest books or books lending corners are useful, so people do not have a chance to miss the right book by having easy access to them.
Adults should model reading: Walking our talk is powerful. Modelling reading is the best way to encourage others to read. Educators, leaders, and parents should model reading. Also giving spontaneous book talks can help others reignite their interest in reading.
Ending the book bias: Depending on our current circumstances in a remote context, it is not easy to get books. The way to approach that is to broaden our idea about what constitutes a text that would be valuable. Online magazines, online libraries, audiobooks, digital books, reading software's can be equally helpful. If we have easy access to digital resources, they can be used to our advantage.
Online reading groups: Reading groups on videoconference in remote learning contexts can help children and young people keep up with their reading practice. We can still work on more phonological awareness, still read to children, and do an interactive read-aloud in a distance mode. The experience of teaching reading remotely may not entirely be the same as in person, yet we do not have to miss out on this completely.
Importance of interaction around the books: An effective teaching strategy is to interact around the book, especially for young children and learners who struggle with reading. Interaction around the text and guided reading practice is more important than the book itself.
It is time to shift to a digital mindset: Yes, nothing can make up reading physical books but taking a deficit perspective to digital reading material or devices is not productive. Digitalization has given us easy access to reading material, books, journals, and articles and is especially helpful in our current distance scenario.
Research References: Edutopia & Education Week