Family Reading: A means to develop and hone the creative ability of children

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Creativity is an act that is required and admired in all life’s endeavours. It is the bedrock of innovation and inventiveness.

At all points in time what makes a child or an adult unique in all spheres of life is their ability to create something out of anything within their reach. That is to say that everything that one does should be given a touch of creativity, uniqueness, value and life.

For children to develop their capabilities and hone their creative ability, it is required that they are offered an environment and opportunities that help them, right from the beginning, to achieve all these skills and capabilities.

The act of family reading which was advocated by Ghana Book Development Council (GBDC), an Agency under Ministry of Education, is to ensure that school children do not only cultivate the habit of reading but also to ensure that they embrace and take advantage of all the benefits of reading, including developing and honing their creative abilities.

From time immemorial, the world has yearned for school children and adult workers who show creativity and innovation in everything that they do. For instance, school children are expected to go beyond what they read from books and taught in school, when answering questions or giving account of what they have experienced in the learning curve.

That is to say, school children are discouraged from engaging in rote learning, where they memorize what they have read or have been taught leading to regurgitating such information during examination. Instead, school children are expected to add value to the lessons they have received by being innovative and productive in future outcomes. In the same way, it is expected that adult workers show similar traits in the world of work.

Creativity is required in the management of resources – both financial and material. Good communcacation and effective leadership also require creativity. These are the ingredients required in today’s world to overcome the emerging challenges, and family reading is one of the means of acquiring such ingredients needed to overcome some of the emerging challenges of today’s world.

The concept of Family Reading, as has been advocated, is the conscious effort by parents and guardians to create an enabling environment for parents and children to read together, share and discuss stories. It is also an avenue for parents and guardians to help children to glean the benefits of reading from stories read, shared and discussed by the whole family. The practice is for the elderly ones to read to the hearing of the children.

This is a practice which children all over the world enjoy so much. One of the positive sides of this practice is for parents and guardians to take time to explain the content of reading books to children. It also gives parents the opportunity to engage and interact with their wards, leading to offering advice and explanations, where and when necessary, as the reading activity goes on. Children get to be creative and interactive at this point, even as they try to answer questions, as well as ask questions that bother their minds. Children also try to rack their brains to answer intriguing questions that come out during family reading and story sharing periods. In doing so, children are offered the opportunity to develop and hone their creative abilities and skills.

Reading books and stories that are narrated for listening are all carefully woven or put together to achieve a desirable effect. A lot is put in to sustain the interest of readers and listeners, especially for books written for use by children.

A lot is also put in to ensure that readers and listeners are able to assimilate the content of the stories. All stories have plots, i.e., the sequence of events that took place in the story. In effect, every story read or told has a beginning, middle and an end. In a more advance explanation of plot, a story begins with introduction (exposition), then it gets to the Rising Action (conflict that builds between or among characters), then to Climax (conflict at peak), to Falling Action (when reader or listener not sure if the protagonist will be able to resolve conflict) and finally the Denoument (Resolution), that is, the resolution of the conflict. Exposing children to such creative structures at the early stage in life help them to be creative and analytical. And this goes a long way to help them translate this skill into other life’s endeavours.

In conclusion, society has a big role to ensure that the expectation of ensuring creativity in all life’s endeavours are met. Parents and guardians are expected to create at home an environment that engineers creativity. This can be achieved by making time to read and share stories with kids. In doing so, parents and guardians give children the opportunity to hone their skills in critical thinking, exercising their brains, developing communication skills and feeding their brains and hearts with good thoughts.

The writer is the Literacy Promotion Manager, Ghana Book Development Council

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