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Editorial

The right of children to read

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By EMN Updated: Aug 29, 2014 11:42 pm
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[dropcap]I[/dropcap]n this age of information explosion and bombardment there is increasing concern amongst educationists and progressive parents about the quality and availability of literature for children.
Literacy is far more than the ability to read. Its primary function is as an advocacy and education organization promoting literacy, libraries and literature. Censorship and reading rights issues are often auxiliary interest rather than a primary focus.
In a free society, the right to choose what you want to read is included. Parents, as the primary educators of their own children, have the responsibility of ensuring their children learn to read and of guiding them in their selection of reading materials. Parents reserve the right to decide what materials/ books are appropriate or inappropriate for their children. And this right can also extend to restrict materials parents deem objectionable in school curriculum and assignments.
But the scenario in our state today is far from ideal. Children who grow up in ‘dysfunctional’ homes or challenging family circumstances have no ‘safe haven’ they can go to. A neighbourhood library or a school library, even.One of the most important lessons that children learn from reading literature is that it helps young people realize they are not alone in the world.The stories, autobiographys. Biographys, history provide sources of creative thinking and imaginations
“Hold fast to dreams,
For if dreams die
Life is a broken-winged bird,
That cannot fly.”
Langston Hughes
Further while reading children are constantly learning vis a vis passively watching television or playing video games do nothing to exercise a child’s memory or build up his/her memory bank.
More often than not the inaccessibility to reading spaces and good reading materials stand in the way of cultivating reading habits in chidren. Some children come from families where reading books and newspapers are a daily habit and family members who read aloud to them. Some do not have easy and ready access to reading materials. Their schools do not have libraries, or the libraries are in deplorable conditions.
If parents and children read together, it is possible for a parent to begin a meaningful conversation with their kids. Books can provide a neutral way to launch discussions about difficult topics and how these are handled or addressed in books.
“ Reading all kinds of books — literary fiction, entertaining fiction, informational nonfiction, history, science, biography, poetry, drama, travel and so much more — helps young people to know that no matter what their familial and life circumstances, they are not alone in the world.If parents and children read together, it is possible for a parent to begin a meaningful conversation with their kids. Books can provide a neutral way to launch discussions about difficult topics and how these are handled or addressed in books. Rather than ban books, I think parents should read them with their children.”- Maria Salvadore
Books also give young people the opportunity to experience things in their heads before experiencing them in real life — like having a dress rehearsal for the real world. Kids can experience joy and pain, glory and defeat, beauty and terrible ugliness, all vicariously, previewing all that can unfold in life. That knowledge can help them make the life choices that propel their most powerful, and quiet, dreams and ambitions.
Reading helps us to grow individually and collectively as a society and culture, ideas need to be out there, to be shared, talked about, expanded upon and argued over. Speaking as an artist and a writer, sharing your work, your ideas, takes courage but once you share your work with your fellow human beings, you no longer have control over it.
Reading is a habit that develops mind and soul and must be encouraged in children to secure their future.

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By EMN Updated: Aug 29, 2014 11:42:52 pm