We often hear about the death of the reading habit among students. You’d think that even seventy years ago, students would have loved to spend their time reading books because they were luckily spared from the common distractions of our day and age: the internet, television and video games. Right? Wrong.
Celebrated author Ruskin Bond was a student in 1950, and he says that reading, even back then, was cherished by only a few students. He was more specific: out of 35 students in a class, around 2-3 actually liked reading books.
If the reading habit is always skating on thin ice, then why should the current generation of students be nagged for not reading enough books? Why is reading so important?
Studies show that early reading can have a major impact on a child's reading and writing abilities, comprehension, vocabulary and self-confidence. It also provides them with a better understanding of other cultures, increases social participation and enables a greater insight into human nature and decision-making.
The International Reading Association (IRA) gives us, a rather prophetic quote:
“Adolescents entering the adult world in the 21st century will read and write more than at any other time in human history. They will need advanced levels of literacy to perform their jobs, run their households, act as citizens, and conduct their personal lives. They will need literacy to cope with the flood of information they will find everywhere they turn. They will need literacy to feed their imaginations so they can create the world of the future.”
They say that great leaders were also good readers: Steve Jobs (a William Blake fan), Winston Churchill (who won the Nobel Prize in Literature, and not Peace) and Nike founder Phil Knight, who reveres his library.
So how do we ensure that the current generation, with their current set of distractions find the love for reading?
We’re talking about 22.7 million digital natives in India who are technologically fluent as soon as they are born. This means that even before they go to a school, they have already had their first brush with technology – mobile phones, tablets and television. Can a two-dimensional textbook really compete with the three-dimensional immersive experience?
Traditionally, education is anchored to textbooks. So how are schools holding the attention and interest of this technologically fluent student population? Out of the 100,000 private schools in India, 20,000 have already evolved to using digital technology in their classrooms.
Digital classroom tools such as TeachNext now bring even the most difficult concepts to life through great quality of animation, graphics, and voice-overs.
If books are to stay relevant, they must become a part of this immersive ecosystem for a student whose first brush with education – or reading, if you like – is essentially through a book.
This is the challenge that NextBooks sought to meet when Next Education decided to foray into the K-5 books segment. For the first time, books are integrated with digital classroom solutions to present the ultimate immersive learning experience to the student.
First times are always special – so why not make reading and writing memorable for the pre primary student who’s opening the textbook for the first time? Everything, from the quality of paper to the quality of graphics and appealing artwork should engage the student.
Different students have different learning styles – visual, auditory, and kinesthetic. Irrespective of the style or pace of learning, books must address multiple intelligences so that no child is left behind.
It all boils down to one basic question: can we get a student to open her textbook when she comes back from school without being told to do so? Curiosity and the desire to learn is natural in children. Textbooks play an important part in determining whether or not the student will actually inculcate a love for reading for pleasure later on in life.
Stephen King said that books are a uniquely portable magic. We couldn’t agree more
About the Author
Sameer Bora, Marketing Head, Next Education India Pvt Ltd
Credited with having the calmest demeanor at Next Education, Sameer is the go-to guy for all things – corporate, marketing, HR, and content. With over 15 years of experience, Six Sigma Green Belt certification, and a Zen-like attitude, Sameer offers a lot of expertise, guidance and support at Next Education. Prior to joining Next Education, he was the India Lead, Digital Content and eCommerce Operations at Google. He has experience in the education sector, product management, software technology and services, internet and advertising, eCommerce and customer intelligence. His exposure and experience help shape Next Education’s brand identity, overall marketing strategy, digital marketing, content, product development, talent acquisition, IT infrastructure, administrative aspects, employee workspace, and expansion. He also looks after compliance and audits.