Decline in Reading Habits among Children


Dr. Arundhati Hoskeri
MSc, MEd, MA (English), Ph. D ( Edu.)
Director and Management Representative,
MET Rishikul Vidyalaya, Cambridge school,
Bandra Reclamation. Mumbai, Maharashtra

Too much of technology around is making human mind lazier each day. Children are hooked to play stations, television sets, virtual games and teenagers to social media. Using gadgets is considered a way of life. Adults have no time as their main focus is scaling to new heights in their career and also making more money. Buying and storing books is looked upon as a waste of precious space at home especially in metropolitan cities like Mumbai and it may even be considered as old fashioned. I find these days; children have no patience to sit and read books or enjoy literature. But thankfully still there are a small percentage of parents who read books and they are keen on inculcating reading habits in their children. If this habit is formed when they are young it continues throughout their lives. School libraries make provision for good literature but all children are not inclined towards reading. Children have too many distractions and they are pushed into too many activities by their parents to keep up with the rat race as a result of which reading takes a back seat.

Old children’s classics are no longer popular among kids.

Till late 90s children grew up on the best of literature available then. For instance, Amar Chitrakatha which is truly a collection of immortal pictorial stories from history, mythology, fables and our great Indian epics, retold in a comic book format in a simple, lucid language were enjoyed by the young and old alike and provide authentic information. Popular series of Enid Blyton like Malory Towers, Secret Seven, Noddy, Famous five were very popular among boys and girls. Girl mystery series of Trixie Belden, mystery stories of Nancy Drew were adored by girls. Reading original English authors immensely enhanced linguistic skills. These books increased the mental horizons of children, indulged them in imaginative and creative thinking. Older children must read the books authored by P G Wodehouse to understand the real humour, short stories written by a famous American author O Henry to understand how to convey maximum of a story in minimum words! His short stories with surprise endings are really short but superb.

But today it is unfortunate that most of the children have not even heard of these authors, as they are never exposed to good books or reading. No doubt videos or stories depicted virtually capture the immediate attention of children but their impact or learning outcome is just superficial as there is neither time nor need for children to imagine these situations and outcome of the story. Whereas while reading a book, one has to trigger centres in the brain to visualise what interests them, what could be the end and this is what we call creative thinking.

As an educationist, my advice to parents and children to experience the joy of reading

Parents must understand that reading the books / classics is not for just getting information or knowledge. Books expand the mind like a parachute, trigger imagination, enhance creative thinking, strengthen logical reasoning and make children emotionally intelligent. Emotional intelligence is a basic scaffolding for a successful and happy life.

Children learn by imitating adults around, the parents in fact have to start reading books for their own selves and also for their young children, encourage older children to read. Reading physical books is the least tiring for human eyes as compared to reading digitally on screen. Parents can buy books and if there’s space constraint for storing them, then donate the books to any public or school library once you finish reading! Books are ultimately man’s best friends!

Dr. Arundhati Hoskeri is an eminent educationist for the past 35 years. She has been heading reputed National and International schools in Mumbai as a Principal / Director for the past 19 years.


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