Ghana Book Development Council (GBDC), an Agency under the Ministry of Education, Ghana, is advocating the concept of family reading as a tool to ensure that the culture of reading permeates every part of the country.
This is one of the many measures put in place as a complement of the efforts of the Ministry of Education and its Agencies, including other organizations (governmental/non-governmental) to ensure that school children cultivate the habit of reading for pleasure.
The concept of family reading is thus a tool to ensure that all children of growing ages to the adult stage cultivate the habit of reading with the support and company of the family. That is, every child born in the family automatically learns that the culture of reading as it becomes entrenched and part of the family. The ultimate goal is that at the end of the day, the whole country becomes addicted to the culture of reading.
The practice is even more important at this time as many children and their parents find themselves at home owing to the spread of the novel viral disease called Coronavirus. At a time that teachers of the pupils cannot get access to them, because schools are not in session, the school children still find themselves with their first teachers (parents/guardians) and their first place of learning or education (home). For this reason, school children cannot miss one of the fundamentals of education i.e. reading, because they cannot go to school.
GBDC, for this reason, is collaborating with other partners and the media to introduce the concept, Family Reading. With this concept, parents/ guardians and children will habitually and intentionally sit together to read. The whole purpose or focus is to cause the whole country to read or cultivate a lifelong reading culture. The belief is that if all families are empowered to read, the whole country reads.
It is an established fact that parents play a significant role in ensuring that children cultivate a lifelong culture of reading. Parents, whether working or not, ought to make time to encourage children to read. Even parents who are not educated are not left out. If the parents are not in the position to read, they can still create a congenial environment, under their supervision, for the children to read.
This could be achieved when parents ensure that children have time, space and the right reading books to read. Not only that but also they can make sure that they are part of the reading process. Thus, every week, each family will have a reading session, where each family member—father, mother, children, and any other person, included—participates.
To bring this programme to fruition, GBDC will in the coming weeks undertake weekly sensitization programmes through various media platforms on the concept of family reading to educate the general public on the importance of reading, with more emphasis placed on family reading. The sensitization programme will focus on the importance of reading, the need for family reading, and where one can sourcebooks to read online, etc.
The second part of the programme is dubbed the Family Reading Challenge. With this, families will read and share videos of their reading sessions on various social media platforms. The exercise will also have some personalities who children look up to, as role models, read to and with them. This is to inspire the whole population of Ghana to read.
It is the expectation of GBDC that everyone puts his/her hands on deck to push this exercise. GBDC believes that the exercise of promoting reading and getting the whole country to read is a herculean task that cannot be achieved by one entity or organization.
GBDC, therefore, calls for the collaborative efforts of all to achieve this important feat. GBDC believes that the whole country will read if all families are encouraged to cultivate the habit of reading.
Literacy Promotion Manager
Ghana Book Development Council