Reading is the light that brightens the path of the present and the future.
Those who are able to develop the capacity to read are never lost in a world now defined as a global village.
And to be able to have full access to this global village, participate and benefit from its growth and development, one needs to acquire the skill and capacity to read.
The capacity to access information, a skill in creativity and communication competence are some of the skills set that one needs to function effectively in the society.
Developing a reading culture among children at an early stage of their lives is the best way to ensure that the present and the future are adequately prepared to contribute to and also benefit from what a literate society has to offer its people.
The childhood stage is the most fertile period to plant any desirable behaviour in the life of a child.
The theme for the celebration of this year’s World Literacy Day, “Transforming literacy learning space”, enjoins all stakeholders to ensure that effective and innovative measures are put in place to create an enabling environment for all children, everywhere, to read and learn with ease and for fun.
This is one of the surest ways of developing a functionally literate population that has the wherewithal for nation building.
It will also enhance our ability to overcome unpredictable future occurrences that are not within our control. The recent outbreak of the COVID-19 is an example of how literacy (use of science and data) was used to fight the menace. Society is tasked to go by certain protocols to avoid infections and spread of the disease.
Since most of these protocols are written pieces, it requires society’s constant read to keep ourselves abreast of what is required to overcome this menace.
Like the good Book says, society ought to “Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old, he will not depart from it” (Prov. 22:6).
Consequently, if society wants its children to behave in a certain way in the future, it is the responsibility of society to make provision for children to acquire such desirable habits.
It is a well-known fact that the best time for one to acquire a habit is the childhood period. It is the time that one has not acquired any biases or prejudices which hamper smooth learning.
It is also a known fact that one of the ways children learn with ease is by observation and it is the best time that society puts in a lot of effort to ensure that a child develops a habit of reading so that the child grows with the habit.
Training a child requires giving him or her information, moulding and shaping his or her character to adopt a certain behaviour pattern, that is reading.
It also includes a practical demonstration of the desirable behaviour or conduct that one seeks the child to imbibe.
Consequently, the trainer becomes a model or a mentor to the child, regarding the behaviour the trainer expects the child to acquire.
This training phase of life could happen consciously or unconsciously. With this insight, it behooves society and all stakeholders involved in reading promotion to create a thriving environment that stimulates the culture of reading among children.
Society’s behaviour toward reading today begets the future of society’s reading culture. Thus, to ensure a better reading culture, that ensures a functionally literate population for the future, everyone- parents, government, stakeholders - must get involved.
Everyone is expected to be seen, not only advocating for the need to read, but should also be seen reading. That defines training or teaching by example.
Effective training requires the needed tools and materials that ensure smooth learning. Accordingly, writers and publishers of reading materials must be innovative in producing materials that meet the reading needs of today’s children, especially in respect of information needs and accessibility to books.
In a world that is advancing with speed, regarding Information technology, it is important that stakeholders take advantage of it to enhance the reading culture of society.
Not only that, but also, ensure that through reading children are able to acquire knowledge in technology to enhance their learning skills as well as develop themselves properly to make them employable or entrepreneurial in the future.
In conclusion, when a child is trained to read, the child is put on the path to develop his or her learning skills to be literate so as to acquire the needed information to overcome life’s difficulties, such as poverty, disease, unemployment, and other social vices that blur his or her way.
The child is also given a life-long tool to seek economic prosperity and contribute his or her quota for society’s growth and development. On this note, the Ghana Book Development Council wishes everyone a happy World Literacy Day.