How to Improve Reading Culture
Many kinds of research have established that the reading culture in Nigeria is declining at a very fast rate, and this is not only peculiar to students but the youthful population in general. The rate of failure of Nigerians students in the West African Examination Council WAEC and National Examination Commission NECO, including other examinations taken in Nigeria, is enough evidence of the country’s decline of reading culture.
Going from the above, how can Nigeria solve this problem and improve the reading culture among its youths and students? This article will be looking at the factors responsible for the decline in reading culture, the benefit of reading, and how reading culture can be promoted.
How government can improve reading culture in the country
In this section, we will be looking at actions’ government can take to improve and promote Nigeria’s reading culture.
Workshops and training should be organized for Nigerian students and youths: The first way to improve reading culture in Nigeria is through training and workshops for Nigerian youths and students where the importance of reading will be discussed.
Inter school essay writing and debate competition should be organized for Nigerian students: Another way to improve reading culture in Nigeria is through the organization of essay writing competitions and debates. While organizing for these student competitions, prizes must be given to the best performing students in the competitions and the participating schools. Events like this will boost students’ and teachers’ desire to read more and put more effort to stand a good chance of winning the organized competitions. By so doing, there are all indications that the reading culture among Nigerian students will improve.
Open campaign and advocacy against examination malpractice in Nigerian schools: In recent times, examination malpractice is the order of the day in the educational sector in Nigeria. Due to Examination malpractice, students have lost interest in reading to prepare for exams; rather, they focus more on cheating their way through. To promote reading culture, there should be campaigns and advocacy against examination malpractices. During these campaigns, people interested in the educational sector can discuss ways to eradicate examination malpractice and inadvertently promote reading habits.
How to personally improve reading culture
Set reading times: Get into the habit of spending at least 5-10 minutes reading. If possible, try to make these small periods repeat themselves throughout the day. For example, in the morning or before going to sleep. It does not matter so much what you read, but what you do. In this way, you will be working on generating the habit.
Always carry a book with you: Wherever you go, always try to carry a book with you. There are always free times that we can take advantage of to read. Whether it is a bus trip, waiting for a job interview, or at the doctor’s office. It is a good way to take advantage of the time.
Make a list: Surely if you are interested in acquiring the habit of reading, you also have an interest in some books, topics, or authors. Create a list of books you would like to read and prioritize. Every time you hear a recommendation for a new book, try to add it to the list. Once you finish with a book on the list, cross it out.
Find a suitable place: Find a place in your home where you can sit and read and where you feel comfortable. Make sure it is away from distractions or annoying noises, such as a television. If you don’t have such a place, try creating one.
Disconnect: Try to reduce the time you spend browsing the Internet or watching television. This can be not easy at first because they are habits that we have ingrained.
Make it a pleasant moment: Make reading time enjoyable. Choose a place that you like, and that is comfortable, make tea or coffee. Take advantage of the sunset or time of day that makes the moment even more enjoyable.
Set a goal: Once you’ve made your list, set a goal for yourself, such as reading 20 books in a year. Then plan a strategy to get it done. Never lose sight that you should enjoy it.
Get a dictionary: Whether it is an application on your phone or a paper dictionary, try to have it on hand to evacuate doubts. It may also be a good idea to make a list in a small notebook with those words whose meaning you do not know and write down their meaning. In this way, the acquisition of new words to your vocabulary will be more effective.
Join a library: Buying books can be expensive. The good idea is to join a library. Not only will it be cheaper, but you will also be able to find out about news or recommendations. Also, having to return it at a certain time will help you finish it.
7 Benefits of Reading
1. Stimulates creativity
Unlike a film or a series with a variety of sound and visual resources, reading takes you to an invisible world. With that, it is necessary to imagine scenes, moments, and the characters’ physical appearance. According to what we read and already live, creating another world inside our heads is the best way to stimulate creativity and sharpen the image. The coolest thing is to read works that tell stories that take place in another world, like the book versions of fantasy hits – Harry Potter and Game of Thrones, for example. Or choose those with very different times as a backdrop – how about embarking on the 18th-century English classic? With these readings, your mind will travel, and you will feel like you have visited another planet. Do you doubt? Try picking up such a book for the weekend’s hobby!
2. Reduces stress
Our routine is busier and our daily lives even more hectic, isn’t it? That’s why looking for healthy ways to relax and have fun is so important. Even a few minutes of reading every day can relieve muscle tension and reduce heart rate, reducing stress. That is why many people like to read a good book before bed. Also, staying focused on a fun story takes your mind off the anxiety loop and gives you many things to think about. This helps you feel calmer and in control, reducing the feeling of anguish and worry.
3. Incites different parts of the brain
Reading puts into practice an important number of mental activities, among which memory, perception, and reasoning stand out. When we read, we mainly stimulate the left-brain region, the part responsible for language that, in general, has more analytical capacity. But many other areas of the brain are activated and influence the process. Deciphering letters, words, and phrases and turning them into those famous mental voices requires the activation of large regions of the cerebral cortex.
The sentimental narratives and content of the text, for example, activate emotional areas of the brain. Reasoning on the subject and semantics stimulates the prefrontal cortex and working memory – the one we use to plan for the future, solve problems, and make decisions.
4. Improves knowledge
If you want to be a person capable of having a good conversation on different subjects, you need to become a first-rate reader. One of the most important benefits of reading, especially for those at the beginning of their careers, is increased knowledge.
Your reading material doesn’t need to have serious matters for you to memorize some information that may be useful someday. Another important point is that the more you read, the bigger your vocabulary gets. The more your vocabulary improves, the better you can express your feelings and thoughts.
People who can use language with ease and articulation are more admired and open the way to better leadership roles, promotions, and positions.
5. Improved writing
The variety of works launched in the publishing market is very large. It is easy to find options to suit all tastes and age groups. Also, the authors’ language varies according to the time the text was written, the style of the book, and the target audience.
Given this, the books present us with many new words. As we read, our brain memorizes these terms to use them when we are writing. That’s why reading increases our vocabulary and evolves our writing! A good way to encourage this process is to look for the meaning of words and expressions that cause some strangeness.
6. Develops critical thinking
Reading is an inexhaustible source of knowledge, whether through printed or virtual productions. Even that piece of fiction you love has some teaching behind the story. With that, you can reflect on your ideas and your values. Based on the information you have received, you will be able to position yourself and give your opinion more easily on different subjects. Reading is a habit that improves your ability to argue – both in personal and professional situations. This allows you to better base your opinions, always presenting new arguments, and seeking to deepen the debates in which you are involved.
7. Reading favors empathy
Empathy is the ability to understand and sympathize emotionally with other people. Regular readers can put themselves in the shoes of others more easily. After all, they know each character’s fears, dilemmas, and dreams and bond with them. Even if it is fictional, reading connects us to someone else’s reality, and we can understand what it is like to be in that person’s skin. With that, we know what it’s like to have her life, perhaps so different from ours. Identification with certain behaviors and values tends to be carried over into real life. This brings to the fore their ability to sympathize with minorities or groups distant from our reality, for example.
From the above discourse, it is obvious that reading brings many benefits, and there is a need for the government in Nigeria to revamp the educational sector to restore reading culture to eradicate the problem of examination malpractices in Nigerian schools.