I met one of my students in the train the other day. He was reading The white tiger. It is a rare sight these days to see someone as young as him (probably in his late teens) reading a book, leave aside reading something like the one he was. Reading, as important as it is, is increasingly becoming a rare habit that the younger lot is relishing. With television, games and internet to lure them, a relatively boring activity like reading is getting ignored. Yet, it is supremely important, perhaps more than anything else. A person who enjoys reading can spend an entire life-time doing just that and still adding value to herself as each day she goes through the pages of any good book. The school surely has a lot to do when it comes to inculcating reading as a habit. So does the parents and mentors of the child. Somewhere, the rat race for marks and grades is killing this beautiful aspect of child development. What is left are those rare ones who develop this habit somehow and sticks to it.
I love suggesting reading to anyone who appreciates suggestions! Be it my studens or friends. For, it is needed. In a typical batch where I teach, the response to my question about how many of them actively read books beyond their academic syllabi is not very encouraging. I am talking of an above average batch of students pursuing Chartered Accountancy. Sure, there are few who are avid readers. Yet there are many who are not. And the difference shows up sooner or later. Be it in the number of mistakes they make while they converse in English, be it the language they produce in their writings or even in the basic confidence level they exhibit while communicating. For all this to be good, grip over language and its usage is necessary. And I do not know of any better way of developing these skills than by reading a lot.
Reading gives you perspective. It makes you think about aspects you would not have thought of otherwise. It takes you to a world you would not have traveled otherwise. Books, by reading them, have the power to change you for the better. In thoughts and actions likewise.
I'm glad I love to read. I could survive happily by doing only that. One of the dream lives for me is having enough money to buy any book I wish to and spend all the time I have reading. Whatever grasp I have over language and writing is all due to the reading I could manage over the years. It defines a large part of what I am today.
Please do whatever you can to make a child take into reading. You never know how it transforms the child into an excellent human being and a person to look upto. It is probably the best gift we could give to a child and the generation that follows us.