Teachers, librarians and the reading habit

Cheryl Rao

boy Everyone agrees that reading is a virtue and a reading habit is one of the best things for a child to acquire. It is the road to that end that does not find a consensus of opinion, especially as most of us like to pass the buck – parents to teachers and teachers to parents. How much difference does the encouragement of a teacher make in developing and nurturing the reading habit?

For Ms. Nayar, a trained teacher, children’s writer and a concerned mother, it is the parents who make the difference in fostering the reading habit in younger children. “Teachers can make a difference, too, but not without the active support of parents.” In her son’s school, she had suggested that each parent donate a book at the beginning of the year to the primary class library in order that the collection become 30-40 books richer each year, and the teacher was happy to take up the suggestion. She collected and catalogued the books (some acquired at her own expense) and read to the children regularly. However, soon, lack of interest on the part of the children because of the absence of reinforcement from the parents became a roadblock and led to the project being shelved. Often, especially with first generation English language learners, parents are more interested in their wards getting their basic education right rather than indulging them in flights of the imagination.

The author is a prolific writer of children’s fiction. She can be reached at [email protected].

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