Reading books is not only a source of entertainment and knowledge, but also a way to enhance one’s mental health and intelligence, according to authors who participated in a discussion at the Gomti Book Festival on Saturday. The discussion, titled ‘Beyond Classrooms: Fostering a reading culture in schools and communities’, focused on the benefits of book reading and how to promote it among children and adults.
The authors shared their views on how reading books can improve one’s mood, memory, creativity, and critical thinking skills. They also suggested various ways to encourage reading habits, such as regular library sessions, interactive activities, community libraries, and storytelling.
Survey reveals decline in reading habits among children
Entrepreneur and author Prasoon Roy cited a survey that revealed that 70% of children in the age group of 6-8 years enjoy reading, but by the time they turn 12-14 years, the percentage drops to 40%. He attributed this decline to the increasing use of smartphones and other gadgets, which have reduced the attention span and curiosity of children.
He said that reading books can help children cope with stress, anxiety, and depression, as well as boost their self-esteem and happiness. He added that non-fictional books written in a creative way can motivate children to develop a habit of reading.
Reading books can change lives of marginalized children
Geeta Malhotra, who has opened several community libraries for children of marginalized sections, said that reading books has made a noticeable change in their lives. She said that reading books has given them a sense of identity, dignity, and empowerment. She also said that reading books has helped them overcome social barriers and stereotypes, and aspire for a better future.
She said that community libraries provide a safe and supportive space for children to explore their interests, talents, and dreams. She also said that community libraries foster a sense of belonging and community among children, who often face discrimination and exclusion.
Reading books can enhance one’s personality and career
Author and former additional chief secretary Anita Bhatnagar Jain said that reading books can enhance one’s personality and career. She said that reading books can broaden one’s perspective, enrich one’s vocabulary, and improve one’s communication skills. She also said that reading books can help one acquire new knowledge, skills, and ideas, which can be useful in one’s professional and personal life.
She said that children should be motivated to read books and then narrate stories in their own way. She also said that reading books can stimulate one’s imagination and creativity, which are essential for innovation and problem-solving.
National Book Trust Director urges children to read books daily
National Book Trust Director Yuvraj Malik said that reading books is a lifelong habit that can benefit one in many ways. He said that reading books can increase one’s awareness, understanding, and appreciation of the world and oneself. He also said that reading books can foster a culture of learning and curiosity, which are vital for growth and development.
He urged children to invest 10 minutes daily in reading and a minute each in writing and narrating write-ups to their parents. He also said that reading books can instill a love for literature and language, which can enrich one’s cultural and intellectual heritage.