The poor reading culture among students

In this fast-paced digital age, where information can be accessed at the click of a button, the lack of reading culture among students is a growing concern. While technological advancements have made knowledge more accessible than ever before, the habit of reading seems to be dwindling among today’s generation.

One of the primary contributors to the decline in reading culture among students is the allure of digital distractions. With smartphones, social media, and countless entertainment platforms at their fingertips, students are increasingly drawn to these forms of instant gratification. Instead of immersing themselves in a book, they find themselves endlessly scrolling through news feeds, binge-watching television shows, or playing video games.

The shift towards digital media has not only been fueled by technological advancements but also by the expectations of a hyperconnected world. The pressure to constantly stay updated has become ingrained in our culture, leading to shorter attention spans and the inability to focus for prolonged periods of time. Consequently, the commitment required to read a book from cover to cover seems daunting, leading students to choose more instantaneous forms of entertainment or information retrieval.

Another factor contributing to the lack of reading culture among students is the current educational system. While schools are meant to promote reading and instill a love for literature, the excessive focus on standardized testing and exam-driven curriculums often leaves little room for leisurely reading. The pressure to excel academically has reduced reading to a chore, rather than a pleasurable activity.

Furthermore, the curriculum itself sometimes fails to engage students with relevant and interesting literature. A lack of contemporary books or outdated texts can make reading seem disconnected from their interests and daily lives. Additionally, the didactic approach to literature in some classrooms, where students are required to dissect every paragraph, can drain the joy out of reading. Consequently, students begin to view reading as a means to an end, rather than a source of enjoyment and personal growth.

Parents play a crucial role in shaping their children’s reading habits. However, in many households, reading has taken a backseat to other activities. Busy schedules, reliance on screens for entertainment, and parental disinterest in reading transfer to the younger generation, perpetuating the cycle of the lack of reading culture. Instead of encouraging reading as a pastime, families often prioritize other forms of leisure activities, leaving little time or inclination for books.

Moreover, the advent of e-books and digital media has led to a decreased presence of physical books in family households. While digital reading has its benefits, the absence of physical books can reduce a child’s exposure to literature and limit their access to diverse genres and authors. The importance of bookshelves filled with different titles cannot be overstated, as seeing books in prominent places at home can spark curiosity and encourage regular reading.

The lack of reading culture among students has alarming consequences, both in terms of their academic performance and personal development. Reading is not only essential for language skills development but also for critical thinking, imagination, and creativity. Without regular reading, students may struggle with comprehension, vocabulary acquisition, and writing skills.

Moreover, the absence of a reading culture hampers students’ ability to empathize with different perspectives and understand different cultures. It limits their exposure to diverse ideas and reduces their ability to think critically and question the world around them. In an ever-changing global landscape, these skills are crucial for personal growth, innovation, and adaptability.

Additionally, reading plays a vital role in stress reduction and mental well-being. Engaging in a book allows individuals to escape from everyday stressors, expand their horizons, and explore different realities. Without this outlet, students may have limited means of relaxation and may struggle with emotional balance.

To reverse the declining reading culture among students, efforts must be made on multiple fronts. Firstly, schools must prioritize reading as a vital component of education. This can be achieved by incorporating diverse, relevant, and age-appropriate literature into the curriculum. The inclusion of books that reflect students’ experiences and interests can make reading more relatable and enjoyable.

Moreover, schools should encourage independent reading and provide students with dedicated time to read books of their choice. Creating a reading-friendly environment, with well-stocked libraries and comfortable reading corners, can foster a love for books and encourage regular reading.

Parents also have a crucial role to play in promoting the reading habit at home. Setting aside regular family reading time, where everyone engages in reading together, can establish reading as a valued family activity. Encouraging children to discuss books, asking about their favorite characters or plotlines, and providing access to diverse reading materials are all effective ways to instill a love for reading.

Furthermore, teachers and parents must be role models for children by prioritizing reading in their own lives. A visible love for books demonstrated by adults can have a significant impact on children’s attitude towards reading. Creating a home environment with ample physical books and making visits to libraries and bookstores a regular family outing can also contribute to building a reading culture.

The lack of reading culture among students is a matter of concern that requires immediate attention. The digital temptations, the shortcomings of the educational system, and the declining interest in books within families are all contributing factors to this trend. However, the consequences of this decline go beyond academic performance, affecting critical thinking skills, imagination, empathy, and mental well-being.

To foster a reading culture, schools must revamp their curriculum, making reading relevant, engaging, and enjoyable. Parents should prioritise reading at home, provide access to diverse literature, and be active participants in their children’s reading journey. By collectively nurturing a love for books, we can provide a foundation for a generation of lifelong readers who will continue to explore the wonders of literature and contribute meaningfully to society.

Mustapha Abdullahi,

Mass Communication Department,

Borno State University, Maiduguri