Ghana Book Development Council (GBDC) – an Agency under the Ministry of Education, Ghana, is advocating the concept of family reading as a tool to ensure that the culture of reading permeates every part of the country.
This is one of the many measures put in place as a complement to efforts of the Ministry of Education and its Agencies, including other organisations (governmental/non-governmental) to ensure that schoolchildren cultivate the habit of reading for pleasure.
The concept of family reading is thus a tool to ensure that all children from growing ages to the adult stage cultivate the habit of reading with support and company of the family. That is, every child born in the family automatically learns that culture of reading as it becomes entrenched and part of the family. The ultimate goal is that at the end of the day, the whole country becomes addicted to the culture of reading.
The practice is even more important at this time, as many children and their parents find themselves at home owing to spread of the novel viral disease called coronavirus. At a time that teachers of the pupils cannot get access to them because schools are not in session, the schoolchildren still find themselves with their first teachers (parents/guardians) and their first place of learning or education (home). For this reason, schoolchildren cannot miss one of the fundamentals of education, i.e. reading, because they cannot go to school.
GBDC, for this reason, is collaborating with other partners and the media to introduce the concept, Family Reading. With this concept, parents/ guardians and children will habitually and intentionally sit together to read. The whole purpose or focus is to cause the whole country to read and cultivate a lifelong reading culture. The belief is that if all families are empowered to read, the whole country reads.
It is an established fact that parents play a significant role in ensuring that children cultivate a lifelong culture of reading. Parents, whether working or not, ought to make time for encouraging children to read. Even parents who are not educated are not left out. If the parents are not in the position to read, they can still create a congenial environment under their supervision for the children to read.
This can be achieved when parents ensure that children have time, space and the right reading books to read. Not only that, but they can also make sure they are part of the reading process. Thus, every week each family will have a reading session wherein each family member – father, mother, children and any other person included – participates.
To bring this programme to fruition, GBDC will in the coming weeks undertake weekly sensitisation programmes through various media platforms on the concept of family reading to educate the general public on the importance of reading, with more emphasis placed on family-reading. The sensitisation programme will focus on the importance of reading, the need for family-reading, and where one can source books to read online etc.
The second part of the programme is dubbed ‘Family Reading Challenge’. With this, families will read and share videos of their reading sessions on various social media platforms. The exercise will also have some personalities who children look up to as role-models reading to and with them. This is to inspire the whole population of Ghana to read.
It is the expectation of GBDC that everyone will put his/her hands on deck to push this exercise. GBDC believes that the exercise of promoting reading and getting the whole country to read is a herculean task that cannot be achieved by one entity or organisation. GBDC therefore calls for the collaborative efforts of all to achieve this important feat. GBDC believes that the whole country will read if all families are encouraged to cultivate the habit of reading.
The writer is a Literacy Promotion Manager, Ghana Book Development Council