21st Century Fever: Decadence in The Reading Culture of Students

Reading is the act of understanding or interpreting a written text. According to the Cambridge definition of reading, “It is the skill or activity of getting information from written words.” Reading as a skill should be mastered, and if it is not, the skill has not been acquired. This means that information cannot be thoroughly processed if a given text is not comprehended, and effective reading can only be comprehended through incessant practice.

Unfortunately, the zeal to read or the motivation to develop the reading skill has gone down the drain. Children, particularly students have lost the interest and determination to open, flip, or even glance through any type of books, text, or magazines. The fact being that their interest is only diverted on any thing other than books. Thus, they are only addicted to phones and intoxicated with social media. Their newly found habit of careless and unnecessary use of phones to practice immoral acts and text unimportant messages have affected them immensely.

The immense effect has basically affected an average student’s  academic performance, sense of reasoning or communicating in both oral and written English. For instance, a typical student will coin up words orally without using the proper pronunciation and type in formulas as words in WhatsApp messages as a well-written English. Clear, concise, and proper use of words to make correct sentences have become a thing of the past. Thus, the decline in the reading culture of a typical Nigerian child or student in today’s society.

However, this adverse effect and many more have affected many students. And, some parents shifted the blame to teachers, while some teachers also shifted the blame to the parents. But, still, both parents, students, and teachers have in one way or the other contributed to the decadence in reading culture. 

The quest for wealth, career growth and material interest of most parents have contributed to the decadence of students’ reading culture. Most parents today, would rather dedicate more time to money-making, acquiring gigantic properties, and developing their careers than inculcating the priceless habit of reading quality and educative books in children. Moreso, the excessive pleasure or luxury some parents lavish on children with material gifts have brought about a decline in this invaluable habit.

The intellectual growth and the general well-being of any student who aspires to become a great future leader may not be enhanced if the parents do not dedicate time to encourage the student. Some students would have developed this good habit if it had been introduced to them earlier from a younger age and at the right perspective. 

Paradventure, a parent decides to inculcate the reading habit, very little time is given, and as such, the student looses interest and focus to reading. Most parents relegate their duties to the school teachers with the notion that the teachers will perform miracles, but disaster looms when their great expectation becomes a total disappointment. Yet, it hasn’t occurred to some parents that the foundation of building the blocks of reading begins at home.

Indeed, it’s disheartening at the rushing speed at which this good culture is rottening. This is because some parents have neglected their roles, and it’s time they realized that the quest for wealth and material possession will not purchase the joy, growth and academic motivation of developing the reading skills of a child. Therefore, parents should do the needful, for a time wasted can never be regained.

Teachers are the great pillars that hold parents and students strongly together, and, without the involvement and contributions of parents to aid teachers in imparting great knowledge to students, the student’s potentials might not be achieved.

Teachers endeavor to inculcate the habit of reading among students as much as they can through assignments and activities that cover a wider range of reading with the objective of establishing a reading skill on students with or without assistance form the parents. But, a close observation of the methodology and pedagogy applied to teach this skill proves that while a certain number of students master the skill, most are denied access or totally excluded. The fact being that, some of these students lack attentiveness, focus and full participation as a result of their different learning styles and background experiences which certain teachers and even parents fail to put into consideration. Such perception hinders effective reading with understanding and lingers mastery of the skill. 

In addition, decline in the reading culture of students shows that most schools have failed to provide the relevant books, texts, novels, encyclopedias, newspaper articles and journals in a classic library to enable teachers teach the 21st century students. And, when various quality books that reflect the present situations, occurrences or events which relate to the students’ life experiences are not provided or available to ignite reading, students lose interest in reading, as such, it becomes difficult to inculcate the reading culture.

Subsequently, decadence in reading culture can also be blamed on certain students with lackadaisical attitude who failed to perform their role. Decline in reading culture among students will continue, if the lackadaisical attitude of certain students isn’t curbed or addressed both in school and at home.

In today’s world, most students have lost the enthusiasm and determination to read due to the distractions which surround them. Some are distracted by peer pressure and certain trends on social media, fashion, and entertainment industries. Challenges like loss of a close relation, health conditions, and bullying also contribute to decline in reading culture.

Students with serious medical conditions or minor disability find it difficult to comprehend a particular concept or remain focused in class, talk more of studying a given task or reading. And, conditions such as anxiety, emotional disturbance, stress, conduct disorder, Autism Spectrum Disorders, Dyslexia, Schizophrenia, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), and Cerebral Palsy may affect building a reading culture. This is because the students in question, are restricted to full participation in class based on their medical conditions.

A close observation from experience shows that most students with such conditions or disabilities might not inculcate the habit of reading or master the skill. Because they are not properly placed, as many are in main stream schools rather, instead of special schools. And, this is due to ignorance or lack of information about their background, and failure to access their medical records.

Therefore, mastering the skill of reading could possibly become difficult without the involvement of parents and the full participation, interest or determination of a student to learn. In other words, students may not acquire the skill without the encouragement or motivation from parents to keep them on track. Moreover, if teachers and parents fail to take note of the challenges, background experiences, learning styles, behavioral attitudes, pains and struggles of each child, as well as the learning environment of the 21st century child in the society today, their objectives and goals might not be achieved.

Conclusively, parents and teachers need to collaborate for students to achieve greater goals. As the development of a student is shaped by them to reach their potentials, and without the collaboration from both stakeholders, decadence in the reading culture of the student will reach its peak.

Source: This Day Live

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