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Get Back Into Reading

With World Book Day fast approaching, I thought I would take this opportunity to promote reading. Back in the day, as an avid traveller, the airport lounges, beaches and cafes would be full of people all reading. these days, we are swiping and engaging with our phones.

I think most people would agree that reading is not only a necessary skill for learning but has many benefits for general wellbeing. In our recent survey, 78% of our students agree that reading is good for you.

UNESCO has been at the forefront of global literacy efforts since 1946, advancing the vision of a literate world for all. It views acquiring and improving literacy skills throughout life as an intrinsic part of the right to education. Literacy empowers people, enables them to participate fully in society and contributes to improve livelihoods.

Beyond its conventional concept as a set of reading, writing and counting skills, literacy is now understood as a means of identification, understanding, interpretation, creation, and communication in an increasingly digital, text-mediated, information-rich and fast-changing world.

At least 750 million youth and adults still cannot read and write and 250 million children are failing to acquire basic literacy skills. 

To advance literacy as an integral part of lifelong learning and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, UNESCO takes the following approaches to promote literacy worldwide, with an emphasis on youth and adults.

  • Building strong foundations through early childhood care and education
  • Providing quality basic education for all children
  • Scaling-up functional literacy levels for youth and adults who lack basic literacy skills
  • Developing literate environments

In school and in our homes we need to ensure we have strong and positive literate environments.

Catherine Winter outlines the many benefits of reading in an article called 10 Benefits of Reading: Why You Should Read Every Day. These include:

  1. Mental Stimulation
  2. Stress Reduction
  3. Knowledge
  4. Vocabulary Expansion
  5. Memory Improvement
  6. Stronger Analytical Thinking Skills
  7. Improved Focus and Concentration
  8. Better Writing Skills
  9. Tranquillity
  10. Free Entertainment

What’s next?

Our recent survey showed that 22% of the students never read a book for pleasure; 22% of the students also read every day and 33% read a book 3 days per week. Our aim is to read every day, but no less than 5 days per week. Every student should have a book that they are reading, at all times.

Every student should aim to read at least twice per day. Once in school and at home. We have 15 minutes’ registration time every morning which is a great opportunity to read. There is also break time and lunchtime.

Over the Christmas holidays take some time to get back into reading and this is a fantastic opportunity to buy a book as a gift for someone.

Suggested books for children and young people can be found at these links.

Primary Age

Secondary Age

The Book Trust List 

There is an abundance of great bookshops throughout the Klang Valley in Kuala Lumpur. Some are listed here.

We have over 1000 books in the school library

Epic, the leading digital library for kids is a tremendous source of free books.

So let’s get back into reading.

By Mr Jarlath Daniel Madine, Principal of Beaconhouse Newlands International School