Education remains very vital to the development of every nation.
As said by Nelson Mandela “Education is the great engine of personal development. It is through education that the daughter of a peasant farmer can become a doctor, that a son of a mineworker can become the head of the mine, that a child of farm workers can become the president of a nation”
As far as education is concerned and at all levels of educational ladder, reading remains the key to learning and will forever remain so.
One should now see from the mind’s eye the role of reading as the key to this whole thing called education.
Looking at the key from a point of view of the home and the role it plays,one will then appreciate our statement about reading as the key to learning in every educational setting.
As in the home,when you do not have your key,one finds it difficult to enter his or her room.
A child will not be able to do well at school if he or she cannot read and understand. In that case, meaning the child is not having the key to enable him or her open all the subjects taught at school with ease.
Skills in reading enable learners to benefit from educational activities and to participate fully in the social and economic activities in which they take part.
This is the main reason why all stake holders especially parents must make it a sacred duty to promote reading among their children in order to make sure they hand over the key to learning which is reading to them in the pursuit of making them function very well at school.
But are our parents committed to that in this country? How many parents make it a duty to promote reading among their children? But is it not funny to note that,all parents want their wards to become prominent people in the future but majority do not do anything to support their children as far as learning is concerned especially issues relating to reading?
The question is,must we continue this way forever?No!
The fact of the matter as we all know is that,young people are our future.
Today’s young people are tomorrow’s scientists, teachers,nurses politicians, doctors,engineers and the list goes on.
In the future, they will inherit everything that we possess and accomplish and will be charged with responsibility of protecting the weak and vulnerable of this world, possibly by making some of the hardest of decisions in order to do so but are we equipping them with the necessary skills, knowledge and attitudes to enable them face the future?
It is very sad to note that,in our country as we speak, majority of our school pupils do not benefit from lessons taught at school because they do not understand English.
The question then is,how would one understand English if he or she does not read books?
This is the more reason why parents must always be seen promoting reading among their children at home and making sure they serve as reading models.
We are aware some parents will argue that,they cannot read themselves and how would they promote reading among their kids?
Yes, it is true they cannot read but what efforts are they making to enable them read and thereby helping their kids read as well?
Focusing on the topic under discussion,one will agree with us that,one important day in the life of every child is his or her birthday, which comes off once every year.
As it is a special day, parents are supposed to make it special and memorable for their children.
As we all know, it is quite hard to imagine celebrating a birthday without gifts.
So parents have considered it a proper etiquette to give their children gifts on birthdays.
It is also sad to note that,some parents do not give their children any gift on that day at all.
But others will also go through great lengths just to get their children the best possible present for their birthdays.
Interestingly, in some other cases the parents will entirely forget the day.
Birthday traditions vary depending on culture.But research findings shows that, giving birthday gifts have its roots from religious rituals which can be traced to Europe hundreds of years ago.
At that era,it was believed that during a person’s birthday,evil spirits would haunt and harm the celebrant and in order to protect the person,people would gather together and bring presents with them to avoid the ward off evil spirits.
This some may say to be perhaps equivalent to our modern day birthday parties and gifts giving but the fact remains that,the purpose for giving birthday gifts have extended beyond their religious origins because they have now evolved into more complex social and cultural dynamics.
Birthdays mean that, another year has been added to the person’s life.
So to commemorate this important milestone we need to give something to the celebrant that would be utilized for a very long time and as a matter of fact, the most important birthday gifts for a child should be books.
Giving books as gifts to children on birthdays will bring personal bonding and make them value books to a very large extent as powerful weapons when parents continually do so.
As indicated in the Holy Bible in Proverbs 22:6 thus Train up a child in the way he should go,so that when he is old he will not depart from it.
Read Ghana Foundation is of the view that,as a country we need to set a solid tradition for our generations as far as reading is concerned because it must be passed from one generation to another and therefore the need to start it on special days like birthdays.
We want students to enjoy reading so that it will promote an interest in other subjects of the curriculum.
Our expectation is that, students should leave school as lifelong readers, writers and learners.
This therefore means that,we must reconsider what we give to children in the past as birthday gifts such as toffees, biscuits, toys,coca-cola,fanta, chocolate,fried or boiled eggs,etc and rather buy books for children in marking this special day.
As it is said “one cannot teach an old dog a new trick”so we will like to suggest that,if parents will find it difficult not buying those gifts then, they should just add books to it or forget of those things and used the money to get interesting books for the children.
Let us say,we have a family of 5 thus father,mother and three children.
The members of this family each gets a book on his or her birthday.
It therefore means that,there will be averagely 5 books evey year in that household.
So when this good culture continues for 5 years it means averagely there will be a total of 25 books in that household and when this continues for the rest of their life time one could just imagine the number of books that household will have.
This is something we want to see happening in every Ghanaian home from this day forward.
The good part of this is that, children will learn it from their parents and when they become couples,they will emulate same and it will continue that way.
Read Ghana believes that, a reading nation is a winning nation and we are committed to sweeping away the saying that,if you want to hide something from a black man then put it in a book but this can only be possible when we are all educated to understand that, becoming a life time reader is based on developing a very deep love for reading at a tender age.
As a country,we must do all in our humanly power to make sure young ones become avid readers.
Let us not forget that, young people have dreams and goals and it is our collective duty to make them get to their desired places.A reading nation will always be a winning nation.
Long Live Ghana
Long Live GES
Long Live Read Ghana Foundation