Parents tasked on inculcating reading for leisure culture in kids

Kennedy Buhere, Communication Officer at Ministry of Education.

Parents in the country have been challenged to inculcate a reading culture for leisure in their children by encouraging reading of non-academic books.

Education expert and analyst Mr Kennedy Buhere who heads the communication department at the State Department for Basic Education warned that unless parents participated in promoting a reading culture at family level, the culture would continue to deteriorate.

Most readers in Kenya, according to the educationist merely interacted with books in learning institutions and the size of the population which reads for leisure has continued to deteriorate.

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Teachers, parents and guardians, he insisted should create deep interest in reading for leisure among their children and the young by ensuring the kids has access to books covering all subjects depending on their age groups.

The owner of the largest collection of books in his rural home library, the reading and book collector enthusiast says that those who interacted with books at an early stage in the 1970s and 80s especially through book boxes and corners found in various schools still love books today.

In a write up pasted in his online outlets, Dr. Buhere wondered where cartons full of books went to yet young learners had a selection of books on offer which they were encouraged to borrow and even read during sessions set aside by teachers.

Parents in the country, he says should not only concentrate on the acquisition of text books suggested by schools for their children but also start to embrace leisure reading materials and stock them in their home libraries.

”It seems most parents and guardians do not know the value of non-academic books in the education of their children,’’ says Buhere adding that most secondary school administrators pay little attention in the type of books on offer in their libraries.

The book collector says his research on the type of books stocked by various school libraries and home book shelves revealed that leisure reading books have been almost entirely ignored.

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Due to over concentration on academic books, the space of leisure books has been firmly taken over by text books on various subjects which are also tested in national examinations.

He suggested that parents and guardians should provide more non-academic books to their children. Because home had space for books and time for reading for leisure but some parents have become too busy elsewhere that reading has been gradually ignored.

Insisting that reading is not a natural occurrence like growing up or walking, the scholar stresses the need to carefully introduce children of all ages to reading “because every child regardless of his or her cognitive ability can read when skillfully introduced to it.”

He says that fictional and non-fictional works are full of the wisest and most insightful ideas about mankind and the natural environment hence the need for Kenyans to embrace leisure reading but above all encourage children to read.

By  Robert Nyagah

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Education News - Newspaper Vol 281