‘The more you read, the more things you know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.’ Dr. Seuss
Gone are the days when our world was confined to the country of our origin. With the developments in technology, the world is now one giant village. From Cape to Cairo, from the North to South pole, we are all now interconnected in one way or the other.
Proof of this is how the coronavirus managed to spread across all continents in a matter of months. It just goes to show how the world is under one roof, so to speak. Africa is lagging behind and seems to be playing a game of catch up with the rest of the world. For the sake of our future generations it’s high time, we realize the importance of reading in the formative years.
The problem with our African culture has been the emphasis on oral tradition. Our African cultures are rich with stories of folklore and African pride, which is told from one generation to another, but nothing was written down. Imagine if all those stories had been written down. What our narrative would have been today had we allowed our minds to open up to endless possibilities through reading?
There is power in the written word and reading is an important culture that must be cemented in young children. Catching them young will cultivate a love and desire for reading, which will go a long way in giving the children exposure to a global village.
Some of the ways in which reading can help young children include:
- Cognitive development.
When young children read from an early age, their ability to think and understand improves. Reading triggers the connections between brain cells and helps the growth of new brain cells, which will help improve thought processes, perception, problem-solving, and decision making. The strong cognitive background will give children the tools they need to make an impact in their adult years.
- Language skills.
Reading develops language acquisition skills, which are especially important for English learning skills to be instilled at an early age so as to cement the grammatical structure and language skills. While children learn their mother tongue by latching onto the words they hear around them, it is crucial to introduce them to early learning of other more international languages to be able to fit into the global space.
- Vocabulary and comprehension building.
Reading skills give the children exposure to improved vocabulary, allowing them to absorb more in any field of study they will eventually find themselves later in life. An early introduction to phonetics, comprehension will improve their understanding skills.
- Builds imagination.
Reading through books opens up the minds of children to endless possibilities; it allows them to visualize the world from a perspective other than their own. When children gain exposure to the world, they will likely find themselves more adaptable to change, more tolerant of different viewpoints, and more likely to go places.
Reading is an important tool in the early-stage development of children. It is the key to lifelong development, which will set them apart later on in life. It should not only be encouraged but it should be viewed as the pillar of education.
By Evelyn Shumba (Freelance Writer)
Finance and Education