Most parents and educators are worried about their child’s waning interest in reading. The main task is not only to get them to start reading but also to enjoy it. Research has repeatedly shown that motivation to read decreases with age, especially if pupils’ attitudes towards reading become less positive. If children do not enjoy reading when they are young, then they are unlikely to do so when they get older.”
To attract infants, toddlers, and pre-kindergarten students, colorful kids reading books with large font are available in the market. Generally, parents of pre-primary and primary students are very enthusiastic to select and read books with their young kids but slowly this reading time starts vanishing from their lives as the kids grow. Schools are organizing various programs and workshops to make parents’ aware of the crucial role of the family and home environment in the scholastic achievement of the child.
In middle school, it is very easy to identify readers and non-readers. As per our observation in school, out of 30 students in 7th class, 45 % students like to read but need guidance, 35% don’t like to read and 20% students are self-motivated. As a librarian, this 45% can be the prime target who needs little push and right guidance to start reading. They are the people who can read with some aim.
These articles emphasize on reading for pleasure and in general, this is an overlooked area in any school. The wrong way to intervention in student’s mind can aggravate the problem, so a librarian must be confident before dealing with such situations. Our main objective must be to give an opportunity to develop reading habit and to set a standard to measure this success.
Step 1: Collect data
Meeting with students on a one-to-one basis helps to understand their personality and personal interests. Interview is the best way to build a reading relationship with each student, some open-ended questions can be asked to make them think about their reading interest. Questions can be- Why do you think you are on the list of non-readers? Do you think reading makes you smarter? How do you define reading? At the end of the session, explain to them the goal of the interview which is to make reading enjoyable for them. The interview can include questions to find their personal interests, likes and dislikes. This kind of individual discussion can help create trust. Reading recommendation can be built on the basis of this interview.
Step 2: Giving reading recommendations
Wrong recommendation or approach can ruin the aim of the project. The librarian should be very clear with her reading recommendations. For example, children are forced to read classics in high school but they contain tough language and require loads of prior knowledge. Sometimes classics for the new readers are hard to understand and even harder to read with interest.
HOW TO DEVELOP READING HABITS IN KIDS?
Introducing a Book through ‘Book Talk’
The librarian can introduce a book through BOOK TALK. In a small group of students, introduce a book by reading its summary; explain character traits, and read book reviews written by some famous personalities. A discussion on books of the same segment or genre to check student’s knowledge and interest can be organized by the librarian while introducing a new title. If available play an online book trailer before discussing the book. If possible, contact the author and arrange an author talk. If the author can’t visit your school, there is a way of Video Conferencing.
a) Introduce Popular books
Non-readers are actually finding an easy way to read and finish a book as soon as possible. To develop an interest among them is a tricky task to do. Some books are based on popular movies or TV shows or vice versa. Recommending titles like Titanic, Jurassic Park, Life of Pi or Harry Potter series is sometimes a good choice to achieve success.
b) Talk about Award-winning books
For students who don’t have any specific interest, award-winning books can do wonders. Holding an award-winning book with a golden or silver color award badge on the cover page gives a feeling of pride among students.
Step 3: Evaluation
Evaluation can be done in the following ways:
- Observe students passively during a reading session
- After the reading session, a brief discussion about the recommended book
Step 4: Observation of Reading Habits
- Number of pages read during a reading session
- Body language while reading
- Ability to explain what they read
Properly customized intervention to change one’s perspective about books and reading combined with a range of books can make a difference. In general, reading recommendations, summer reading lists and daily suggested reading books list is shared by the classroom teacher or language teacher but intervention with personalized book recommendations is helpful to build a good reading relationship. The goal of converting non-readers to readers can be achieved if readers are guided by responsible staff with a range of good reads in an inevitable open environment.
Written By :- Dr. Chhavi Jain, Senior Librarian, Manav Rachna International School, Sec-46, Gurugram