Reading is the best thing we can do for ourselves. Not only does reading enrich our lives, it can also enrich the world around us. It has been stated that, “The more you read, the better you get at it; the better you get at it, the more you like it; the more you like it, the more you do it. And the more you read, the more you know; the more you know, the smarter you grow”. The benefits of reading last a lifetime. Reading well affects a person’s academic and professional success.
However, it has been found that Malaysians do not read enough. Many students do not read beyond the materials of the school curriculum. With the existence of television and the advancement of computers with the internet, books have taken a backseat. The young today prefers sprouting roots in front of the television, surfing the internet or playing console games. Many perceive reading as a chore rather than pleasure. There is a need to bring back the creative culture of reading among Malaysians.
Since the birth of our nation in 1957, there have been numerous campaigns held to encourage the reading habit among Malaysians because our government knows that only an educated and knowledgeable nation can climb up the ladder of success. However, campaigns launched to encourage reading are unable to achieve much as progress cannot be seen in the short time limit. Reading is the habit that has to be ingrained and inculcated from young. An environment that encourages reading needs to be created by parents in the home.
Research has shown that the early years in a child’s life have the highest rates in forming and establishing the habit of reading. Habits formed at a young age will stay with them for a long time. Thus, parents and teachers should teach the young to appreciate and enjoy reading beyond their school text books. The reading time should not be turned into a task but into a pleasurable and enthralling experience. The benefits of reading are many. Reading fiction materials can transport the reader to another world and provides relaxation.
It has a therapeutic effect as it stimulates the right side of the brain to the beauty and rhythm of language which has the ability to calm and relax us. Leisure reading can lead to an input of language acquisition as well as language competence. Through carefully graded and selected reading materials learners can gain a wide range of vocabulary and good expressions, thereby improving their language skills. In general, those who have more literacy in English reads more. Teachers and lecturers of higher institution of learning are appalled when students or undergraduates cannot even comprehend reading passages or communicate their thoughts.
The drop in the standard of English is definitely due to lack of reading materials in English. Reading is a profitable pursuit in which we can obtain beneficial insights and knowledge. Hence, Malaysians cannot ignore the habit of reading. The habit needs to be exercised and allow to flow from a regular routine. Then, only with literate and educated citizens can our nation succeed and be raised to greater heights. After all, “A nation that reads, is a nation that succeeds. ”