The statement that reading is a good habit is a self-obvious truth. Man is not a mere child of instincts. It is brainpower that makes a difference between him and animals. Naturally a love for books ought to be his natural inclination.
A teenager is basically a student and the period of his teens is the most formative period. Naturally if a taste for good books can be created in him it shall contribute substantially to his career.
In fact, this truth is apt to be taken up as a research subject. If we trace back the early life of those that have made a mark in life, we shall see that they have spent this period of their life most fruitfully. They may have been poor or may have been away from the seats of culture, yet they must have obtained access to the sources of knowledge during this period.
This period is largely spent in schools and partly in the college. It is also seen that in the schools, the syllabus suggests very useful books, whether it is framed by the NCERT, the Delhi Board or by the various state educational bodies. They cover a wide range of subjects from language, socio-political cultures, environmental learning, science, moral science and what not. If properly pursued the end-product ought to have been marvelous by now. But if we make a study like random sampling, it shall be evident that the net result is not very promising.
Have we ever bothered to enquire, why? The guardians spend liberally for their children. The public schools are multiplying every-day and still they do not lack students. The teenage boys and girls bend under the weight of their schoolbags. Still the result is depressing.
In fact, there is a lack of involvement of the teachers with their students. The irony seems to me to be an odd notion of education. The more in number or in variety of subject are the books the more shall be the achievement of the students. But I hold that the truth lies somewhere else.
The primary factor in our teaching culture ought to be how we can raise the curiosity of the students. We must remember that the curiosity to know, and hence to learn is a basic human impulse. Even a child that prattles picks up new things every-day and shows strange manifestation of his curiosity. How is it that this inherent bent becomes mute or numbed as he grows in age? After all, it is not so dismally true in the foreign countries.
To induce good reading habits, the reader must be made to feel that what is good in a book is really so. It is easier to improve one’s judgment because it is a question of reason or logic. But it is difficult and a painstaking affair to improve one’s taste, because it is a question of feeling. But merely saying that a good book is really good will not does. One has to involve the reader in healthy debates or discussions. The different aspects of ‘good reading’ have to be discussed freely with the students.
A taste for the reading good books once formed cannot be so easily dislodged. As such the culture of good reading habit calls for a kind of cooperation in which the authorities, the teachers as well as the parents, must be involved.