Reading is one of the hobbies that has been getting weaker among British people - and way many other people around the world -, replaced by other sorts of entertaiment and information channles such as television and the Internet. Quite many adults sigh and look back at those times when reading was a thing, something really fun and engaging to do. They would lie belly down on the floor as kids, turning page after page of entertaining adventures and tales. Now, their own kids would rather play with smartphones their very parents have given them, instead of giving books a chance.
Those who really love reading are aware of what those kids - and the rest of the people eager to pick up a book - are missing. Reading is an adventure, at the very least. Stories of fiction, when they are well written, can transport us far away from our homes, to enchanted realms or thrilling scenarios. They can capture us with intense mysteries, compelling characters, touching emotions and lots and lots of fun.
Then there’s non-fiction literature, what we could call "the journey of knowledge". You can learn about almost anything by reading books, and many would be surprised to find out just how fun and engaging learning can be. You discover new, sometimes unexpected, things about the world. Reading can help you on many levels. You get to understand everything better, and you think of everything in a very different way, because you read about new ideas and points of view of life. Reading can inspire you, motivate you into creating something new while giving you the tools to do so. That, and even so much more, is the magic about reading a good book.
Reading is a habit, so in order to get people into books they have to become accustomed to them. It is often difficult to lure children, and even worse, teenagers, into giving books a chance. They see them as boring, uninteresting and heavy uncomfortable material. Their phones, tablets and TVs call their eye much more than a stack of pages full of words. They live in a world of sounds, animations, colours and immediacy, so it is understandable that books seem dull to them to say the least.
The most successful education technique for getting people to do something is to be the example, and this applies to anything. If you want your children to give reading a chance, and enjoy all great things about books, not only do you have to encourage them, but also show them that you do it too. Share reading experiences with them, read them books, ask them questions about what they’re reading and discuss everything together. This will make it more engaging for everyone.
Teachers are great for encourgaging kids, too, because they are models for them and kids spend many hours a day in school. Offering reading activities and including literature among the core classes are great ways to introduce books in the lives of children. The challenge about reading in school is that kids, especially teens, tend to think that all homework is boring and they’d rather be doing something else, so telling them to read for school might be counterproductive. The key is to allow them to choose the books they like and give them material that stings their curiosity and their interest. There is also a strong case for summer reading, teachers can give students a list of books, and parents can have a strong influence in this, too.
Book lovers who gather in institutions such as libraries and cultural centers are often organizing events and campaigns in order to get more people into reading. The British Library is a great place to find activities, and of course, a huge selection of books from which to choose. You can call their number which is displayed on top of this article, or visit their website to find out about what’s going on. They often organize cultural activities so you might want to check it out.
Cultural and educational centers also put together initiatives to encourage reading every once in a while. One of the most recents includes a reading hashtag that was intended to trend in social media, #Selfiesandshelfies. People were encouraged to take a selfie with their books or reading material and then post them on social networks with the hashtag, in order to motivate other Internet users to pick up a book or at least say "Look! People are having fun with books! If I pick one I might have fun too!"
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