Instilling the reading culture in children

Tobi aged 6 returns from school, shrugs off his school bag, barely stops to remove his school uniform and reaches for the TV remote and flops on the rug in front of the TV to watch his favourite cartoon show.

We live in a culture overwhelmed with all manners of electronic gadgets competing for our attention. Our children are worse hit with this deluge of gadgets compounded by the advent of the recent pandemic which has necessitated the use of the internet for work and school from home.

While computer and internet games, movies, TV and musical shows, have dominated the minds of our children, the beauty of reading the written text has slid far down in the scale of preference for many, adults inclusive.

As parents, we must recognise the need to arrest this decline in embracing the reading culture. We need to halt the tempting habit of handing a device to our babies, toddlers and young children, which we do in order to distract and prevent them from interfering in our daily routines. When children constantly handle gadgets, it has the negative effect of numbing their minds to the detriment of developing their intellectual capacity. The long term effect of this dangerous decline cannot be overstated. We stand the danger of raising a generation with a low capacity to pay attention to the written text. That in itself projects a gloomy picture of where our society is headed.

How do we balance this act of weaning our children off what we term screen addiction and channel them to imbibing and enjoying the pleasure of reading?

We will be addressing this issue with steps which will engage both the parent and the child in the clarion call in future editions of this post.

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