Parents, how often do you read? How often do you read to your children? In fact, when was the last time you picked up a book? With the hustle and bustle of modern life, it can be hard to find time. Along with taking care of the kids and work matters, it is no wonder one has little time for reading. However, there are many advantages to reading, and instilling an early reading habit in children is important for language development and communication skills.
In an effort to promote reading culture in Malaysia, the Education Ministry has launched the 10-year long National Reading Decade (DMK) 2021-2030 programme. The aim of this programme is to transform Malaysia into a Reading Nation by 2030.
“A nation who loves books is a nation with a high literacy culture,” said Education Minister Dr Maszlee Malik, according to The Star. A reading profile study in 2005 done by the National Library revealed that Malaysians only read two books a year. Another interim study in 2014 showed that the number had increased to 15 books. However, Dr Maszlee stated that this is still a big difference compared to citizens in developed countries who read 40 books a year.
Making Reading Accessible
Dr Maszlee stated that the implementation work on programme was already starting. Some of the strategies include setting up networks and programmes to encourage reading at certain key areas. For instance, schools, higher learning institutions, libraries, public interest places, community centres, shopping centres, public transport, and hospitals.
“Just imagine, if we can have reading corners at all these places, even at the petrol stations, R&R stops, the mamak shops and fast food chains, where people can access and donate books,” said Dr Maszlee, according to The New Straits Times. He also touched upon underprivileged groups, adding that the children could be given books along with other aid.
He continued by saying that there was a need to translate more works to Bahasa Melayu and vice versa. There would also be efforts towards promoting better access to e-books and digital magazines, as well as libraries for audio books and braille books.
As parents, it is understandable that life can be hectic. However, it can be very beneficial to take some time out of your day to read to your little ones. Even 30 minutes of reading can make all the difference. In fact, you can even make this a family event. Dedicate half an hour of each day to sitting down quietly with a good book. That way, you can kill two birds with one stone. Not only are you gaining knowledge and improving your language skills, you are also spending quality time with your loved ones.
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