Opinion and Editorial

KT edit: An Arab model for nurturing readers at every home

Filed on September 20, 2021

Figures aside, it’s the model of nurturing the habit of reading in the young that makes the challenge an exemplary initiative.

On Monday evening, the winners for the Arab Reading Challenge were announced in a ceremony for which millions of viewers from across the Arab world tuned in. A total of Dh11 million in prizes were distributed among the winners of the fifth edition of the challenge, with (-----------), the Arab Reading champion taking home Dh 5,00,000. The best school and outstanding supervisor too were awarded for their commitment towards encouraging the habit of reading. The edition witnessed a participation of 21 million – the highest number in the challenge’s history.

Figures aside, it’s the model of nurturing the habit of reading in the young that makes the challenge an exemplary initiative.

While rewarding authors has been the global norm, with prizes, plaques and ceremonies devoted to the celebration of the individual behind the written word; often one does overlook the stark reality that it’s the reader that makes the author (writer), and not the other way around.

After all, a writer too can become better at his/her job, only by adopting the habit of reading. Why not change the narrative and award a brownie point to a child, even an adult, when they chose to read over watching a movie, playing an online game, or scrolling through YouTube channels? Indeed, the world’s getting busier, and the OTT platforms are generating content and conversations at a pace that one is unable to match up.

In this current scenario, not just countries, but also homes need to emulate the Arab model to include the most necessary skill and habits in our daily lives. Did you know that reading for mere eight minutes can reduce your stress levels by 68 per cent? Reading strengthens our mental muscles, improves our comprehension and analytical abilities, enhances vocabulary, stimulates the imagination, amongst other benefits. A cursory glance at the benefits of reading and one is likely to wonder if a top-up reward is even necessary. But if a reward can encourage good behaviour, and motivate us to repeat an action until it turns into a habit, then there’s nothing to lose. Just as for a writer, a poorly written first draft is better than an empty sheet of paper; for a reader, a few pages consumed is better than an unopened book. Equip your home with a reward system for a paragraph read, a book completed, and even a story half-read; and you’ll soon have built up a space nurturing lifelong readers and wonderful humans.

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