Minister for Education, Human Resource Planning, Vocational Training and National Excellence, Hon. Octavia Alfred says there is a cause for concern that young people are no longer interested in reading or making reading a pastime.
Minister Alfred stated that the passion for reading that many older persons possessed has not been passed down to the children.
“I fear that our young people are losing the once active interest in reading. I remember exchanging books with my circle of friends and waiting patiently for the next book to make its way to me, devouring several books in the space of a week while finding time for my studies. I remember having to go room to room to turn of lights because the children fell asleep with the books in their face. This passion for reading has not been passed down to many of our children and it worries me,” the Education Minister stated.
Minister Alfred says while she is happy for the more digital form of information, she believes that there should always be a place for books. She called on parents to encourage their children to read.
“I believe there is a need to encourage our children to read actual books. Parents this is your responsibly. A number of our students cannot read because they have not mastered the pre-reading skills. A three year old should know the front and back of a book. Consider this, there are many activities that we can do to help our children learn, and these are simple and inexpensive and they are very effective. Personally, I also think it is the most enjoyable pastime that parents and children can share when parents sit and read with their children,” Minister Alfred noted.
The Education Minister says reading will expand the children’s vocabulary and language skills.
“Early parental involvement in reading helps children build enthusiasm and become more proficient readers. I don’t have to explain how a habit of reading among children helps them become more proficient in all subject areas. In order to excel across the board in school and in life, reading is fundamental,” Hon. Alfred added.