Read Your Way To The Top

As we come towards the end of our solid campaign, we reflect back on the importance of installing a reading culture among youngsters.

The problem is far worse than we realise, where even with the popularity of young adult fiction like Harry Potter and Twilight the problem still remains. Throughout our campaign, we have shown the reasons behind youngsters not reading and also the ways by which if incorporated can help stop the decline of the reading habit.

‘Read your way to the top’ isn’t just a random message but is sincerely targetted towards the reality of what can happen if you follow it. There is no shortcut to the solution but requires the involvement of people to raise this concern on the behalf of making a smart world in the future. We would want our leaders, innovators and artists to be technically sound and mentally gifted. Books are an important catalyst in establishing such a role.

Everyone especially parents and teachers has a bigger role to play in making this younger generation lose their mindset regarding reading, and cultivate an open viewpoint towards such a habit.

We also urge the people following our campaign to get involved by creating a difference by preaching the benefits and making others aware of the dire need to make a change before it is too late.

Before we sign off, we would like to thank our readers for their immense support and endless love, now its time we use our learning and strive together to make a peaceful reading world.

-Paras Agarwal

Make Reading A Compulsory Subject

How about we make reading a compulsory subject in our primary and secondary schools. In fact, let’s make it examinable too. The benefits of reading are widely established. As shown by various research that reading not only improves school grades but also enables a flourishing life as adults and nurtures better citizens.

How will ‘reading’ as a subject work?

Research shows that young children need help to read independently and with pleasure, so that can be the role of lower primary teachers. Later on, up to secondary school, teachers can go on to talk about how to get more out of reading fiction, how to read non-fiction more efficiently, how to read critically, and how to choose books. Better still, rather than tell, teachers can show and share the sheer fun of reading.

However, the key is that most lessons will simply be class time set aside solely for reading, half an hour to an hour a day. The teacher will go round to help struggling kids, or just to chat with them about what they are reading or wish to read. Each level will have a recommended list of both easy and difficult books, which students can borrow from the school library. Students need read only some of the books on the list, and can also choose to read books beyond the list. The list should have a very wide range of titles: fiction, non-fiction, novels, poetry, science, biographies, history, philosophy, gastronomy, sports among others.

One possible objection to making reading compulsory and examinable is that it might turn students off reading. The answer is that few students are keen on reading anyway so it could not turn off any more of them. It is up to our teachers, properly trained, of course, to make reading a joy.

If this post gave you some insights, please leave a like or comment with your views regarding the matter.

-Paras Agarwal

READING ROLE MODELS

Parents know how to inspire a love of books in babies and toddlers, but as kids get older and go to school, reading can be seen as work rather than fun — and kids, especially teens, may stop reading for pleasure.

Here are few tips that can help parents to become a reading role model that their child needs.

 
1. KEEP THINGS REAL

Make explicit connections between your child’s ability to read and her future options in life. If your child is thinking about college or a career path, have open, honest discussions about the ways reading might be necessary for her success. Just be careful to discuss, not preach. Encourage your child to brainstorm with you and to generate some of the ideas you discuss.

2. LET THEM CHOOSE

The best way to encourage your child to read is to allow them to read whatever they find engaging, whether it’s comic books, cookbooks or romance novels about vampires or zombies. The books they are drawn to might not be your favourites but don’t discourage their preferences. Reading is reading. Avoid any urge to censor her choices.

 
3. MERGE MOVIES WITH BOOKS

Hollywood is turning to teen lit for ideas more than ever. Offer your child the print version to read before or after a big film adaptation comes out, and talk about the similarities and differences between the two. Check out our list of Books to Read Before They’re Movies in 2016.

4. MODEL READING

The best way to create a culture of reading in your home is to read as much as possible. Read at home where your teens can see you. Talk about what you’re reading, and express your enjoyment. Always take a book or magazine along when you go to the beach or face waiting in a long line. Send your teen the message that reading is a pleasure, not a chore. The more your child sees you reading, the more likely they will follow suit. This doesn’t change once your child enters high school. Teens are even more resistant to any message that implies do as I say, not as I do.

5. TIE READING TO SOCIAL MEDIA

If your child likes texting friends and posting on social networks, you can give them mini-assignments that use those interests. For example, encourage them to start following a blog and to read interesting posts aloud to you occasionally. Or you could ask them to be on the lookout for interesting abbreviations people use in texts and get them to make a cheat sheet or to quiz you on what these abbreviations stand for.

6. KEEP READING MATERIAL AROUND

Kids who grow up with lots of books around tend to read more. Stock the bathroom, car, dining table — wherever there’s a captive audience — with comic books, graphic novels, and magazines geared to your teens’ interests; first books in hit young adult series; or classic sci-fi and mysteries.

7. LEVERAGE THEIR INTEREST IN CURRENT EVENTS

Highlight the ways that your high-schooler can use reading to keep tabs on what’s happening in her world. Encourage your child to pick up a newspaper or subscribe to a magazine. For teens with learning and attention issues, reading might seem frustrating or boring. But if your child is interested in sports, politics, celebrities, music, you name it, there will always be something they might want to read!

Please leave a like and comment with other useful tips.

-Paras Agarwal

Survival of the Fittest

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Lately, in the past decade, there has been a surge of movies based on books especially children/young adult fiction books. Harry Potter, Hunger Games, Twilight, Chronicle of Narnia, The Polar Express have all not just been movies adapted from books but have been highly successful in terms of revenue collection.

This brings us to two important questions –

Why read a book when you can watch it as a movie?

 

Can watching movies increase the determination in youngsters to read books?

These are two questions that are quite contradictory and yet go hand in hand. There are statements and arguments on both sides where some could argue that teenagers are more fascinated with the visual material than literary but many also believe that movies are the building block for reading books. On one hand, the book-based movie provides reinforcements for a struggling reader as it enhances the reading experience and allows the reader to visually connect with the words, allowing them to make necessary connections and help them comprehend what they normally wouldn’t be able to due to the low reading comprehension skills. But on the other hand, for an avid reader, the movie adaptation ruins the imagination and makes the reading experience uninteresting which contributes to the failure of having a deep attention span when reading that book. The risk factor involved in a movie adaption is also high as it could potentially damage the even slightest inclination for people to read the book if that movie turns out to be bad because it was poorly adapted from the book.

Let’s look at the stats.

In 2001, NPD Funworld found that seventy-nine percent of children ages 6-17, and seventy-one percent of adults who have read Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone planned on seeing the first Harry Potter movie (NPD). It is evident and quite logical that the majority of children and adults who have read books will definitely go and watch the movie adaption. But the question lies in whether these movies can make readers out of students that are reluctant to read. According to the book sales figures, children’s book-based movies bring interest to the books upon which they are based. The Polar Express normally sells approximately 200,000 copies every winter holiday season, but the movie release in November 2004 led to three million copies sold during the 2004 holiday season. Natalie Babbitt’s Tuck Everlasting also sold more than six times more the year it appeared on the big screen. If one were to look at just the book sales it would appear that book-based movies do generate an interest in the books.

The notion that movie adaptations are bad for the reading culture is debatable, where it might influence the audience’s preference for choosing the medium to digest the story, however, it also opens up the possibility and curiosity among viewers to explore more in depth narration and characters through books.

Tell us your favorite movie adaptation in the comments below.

Also get involved by encouraging children and offer words of wisdom on social media, use the hashtag #risethroughreading.

-Paras Agarwal