Saturday, August 7, 2010

Reading for Pleasure: How common is it in your country?

One of the challenges that some international students face when traveling to the United States is the amount of reading that is required for academic studies . . . and I'm not just speaking of reading textbooks. I'm also speaking of reading for . . . . pleasure. The kind of activity where you pick up a novel (fiction or non-fiction), sit on the couch, and read to explore stories and new ideas.

Now, in some countries, reading is very much encouraged, and even schools give awards for the student or class of students who read the most pages during a pre-determined period of the year (e.g., for three months or so).

However, in some educational systems around the world, reading for pleasure in schools with a library full of stories, mysteries, and detective novels is not commonplaces, and as a result in part, some students who come to countries where reading is encouraged find the concept somewhat foreign and difficult.

So, how is reading of literature (in your native language or other) promoted (or not) in the school where you attend? Would a visitor to your school in your be able to find novels like Harry Potter? Do teachers encourage such reading?

Having answers to these questions can really help teachers and other students understand foreign cultures and educational systems better.


1 comment:

  1. As a user of English as a second language and a retired teacher of the subject myself, I wholeheartedly agree with the views expressed in your blog with regard to ‘Reading for Pleasure’. It’s certainly not common in Ghana where I received my basic education, and in some parts of the Africa where I’ve had some teaching experience. However, as a child, I was a newspaper boy and used to love reading the papers aloud on my delivery rounds, especially on topics that interested me. Even so I didn’t understand much of it, so focused as I was on imitating BBC pronunciation. Still, after becoming a teacher, I later realized I’d at least acquired some structure of English in the process. So, largely informed by this and my teaching experience, I’ve come round to the belief that one way of encouraging reading for pleasure in general, but in the third world in particular, is by relating reading activities to Centres of Interest e.g. Music, Dance, Sports, Art, to name a few. So, with this in mind, and now with advances in technology, I’ve managed to develop an online game ( that is designed to stimulate users to practise reading in English while also having fun. They thereby learn to read for pleasure without realizing they’re learning at the same time. The game is still evolving, but I wonder if you could kindly review it even as it develops, while also bringing it to the attention of your students and readers.
    Kwaku Boaten


Thanks for posting a comment. I appreciate your interesting in sharing your ideas.



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