It is a fact that the ‘Reading Habit’ is on a decline because many children are not reading anything significant. Not ALL of them, thankfully. There are still a few children who are voracious readers.
Then there are children who go way beyond: They are writing books!! Some years ago we compiled the writings of Std 3 into a book. Then came a novel by Aayushi Kolhatkar, “The Tunnel of Illusions” – a fantasy novel published by a 14 year old. Young Dhwani Yagnaraman has published her book of poems, essays and short-stories. A compilation of a young girl’s writings. Antara Paradkar has compiled and published her book of poems.
These exceptional students of Vidya Valley, and others of their ilk, are the silver lining on an otherwise bleak horizon
It is not enough to moan the fact that children are losing the habit of reading. Most children read too little. Many do not read anything at all. For these children we need to do something. At school we are trying. We have parents helping us promote reading - Mrs.Shanta Srinivasan, Gauri Shah and Vibha Gokhale - are devoting a lot of their time and energy to help your children.
To enhance interest in books we invited four authors to speak with Std 5, 6 & 7.
Brigadier Sapatnekar (Retd) has written a marvelous book called "56 APO" about his experiences as a paratrooper with the Indian Army. He has been involved in four wars. Despite, Inspite or Because – he has a wonderful way with words and his book is a delight to read.
Soniya Chandrachud has two fantasy books under her belt. Her third book is woven around the history of the Taj Mahal and the Mughals. The next one will be located amongst the Pharos of Egypt. The tingling excitement of adventure cloaked in the mists of history. Absolutely riveting.
Deepak Dalal's books interlace the environment with adventure in exotic locations of India. He embeds his adventure stories with real life experiences. Impossible to say what is fact and what is fiction! Mr. Dalal lives his adventures and he leaves us all wishing that we could share his adventures, or his life. Mr. Dalal makes the reader concerned about the ecology and environment. His books are a marvelous way to learn!
Earlier in the year we had Mrs. Leela Broome come to school for a reading session of her book with Std 5. "The Girl with the Flute" is a novel about a young girl whose flute captures the heart of a rogue elephant and forges a very special bond between them. It is a lovely book which weaves our life and our environment into a single fabric.
How unique it is to be inspired by real, live authors to read books? In our lives we could never even have imagined the opportunity to meet authors - they are such a rare group! Our children met with four of them! The school can do only so much. What are you parents doing?
- Are there books in your house?
- Is there some time of the day set aside for reading? (DEAR time – Drop Everything And Read)
- Is TV time limited or is any time TV time? If you are unable to lock the TV, you can surely lock up the remote?
- Will you discuss the books the child is reading?
- Will your child keep a record of the books read during the vacations?
After the holidays we may ask children to make a list of the books they read during the vacations. On that day will your child be proud of herse lf?
Pride or shame, it will depend on you parents - no point in blaming the child. No point in making excuses. As a school we are responsible for children's education. Our minimum expectation is SIX books. Anything less than that is below expectations.
Why so much stress on reading?
Without good reading skills the quality of our education will be poor. Can one be admitted to any top college or university – an IIT or IIM – without excellent reading skills? (You will still be on “Chapter One” while your classmate is on the second book!!) One may become a doctor or artist or engineer. But to be a GOOD doctor or GOOD artist or GOOD engineer you have to have excellent reading skills. Gather up all that knowledge left to us by so many who came before us.