20 Oktober 2020 | Bildung
The magical world of books
Importance of reading from a young age
“There is a difference between the tangible world and the world of imagination, which is your personal, private world. Only you get to be there and a book transports you there.”
These are the words used by Madeline Carlman to describe the wonderland of reading.
Carlman, an American fellow studying book clubs in Namibia, said her family advocated so much for reading that she was exempted from chores during her reading time. This was one of the things that kept her keen on reading, besides the fact that her mom was part of a book club.
“The importance of reading, particularly amongst Namibian learners, cannot be overemphasised. Through reading, learners are able to develop creative and analytical thinking which in turn will enable them to achieve confidence and competencies that are necessary for lifelong learning,” said Esther Tobias, the chief librarian at the Education Library Service of the ministry of education, arts and culture.
Introducing books from a young age
“It is important to engage children of lower grades in reading activities, because it can effectively tackle reading difficulties at an early stage. We need to cultivate a culture of reading amongst our children as early as from the birth of the child, in other words, reading should commence at home as early as possible,” she added.
Parents can cultivate this reading culture by introducing their children to books and reading to them on a daily basis. Tobias said parents should ensure that a book and other reading materials act as a “third parent” to a child.
Start them young
Helvi Itenge, who is not only the founder of the Namibia Book Fair, but an author as well, is a devoted reader who believes that a passion and love for reading starts at a young age.
She suggested that parents should already buy books and read to their children when they are infants. Parents need to read and establish fun activities to do with their children that revolve around reading, she said.
The mother of two shared that she constantly buys books for her children.
“Everywhere you go, take a book with you; for example, to the salon,” she said.
This also comes in handy during long road trips. Children often mimic the activities of their parents and therefore a parent who reads is an asset in a child’s life.
Books aimed at younger children are colourful and the illustrations help to make them interesting to read or look at.
Visual or auditive aids to improve reading:
• Using colourful books: Children are attracted to colourful books filled with illustrations. These can be borrowed at school and community libraries at no cost.
• Namibia Reads app: The app is a carefully curated digital library that allows young children easy access to narrated and illustrated e-books in an environment free of ads, animation, videos and games. It’s accessible to the entire country via namibiareads.com.
• Leap Readers: Sets to sound out letters and words; it reads out loud to children. This is freely available to children in some our school and community libraries
• Khan Academy Kids: This app provides thousands of educational activities, books, songs and games for children. Parents just need to install it on their devices.
• Educational games for children: They can make use of these at school and communal libraries.
• Children’s programmes on TV.
• Children programmes on local radio i.e. storytelling.