If you don't already know (or haven't already guessed), I'm a HUGE book fan. It's probably something that I'm truly passionate about...something that I truly love.

And this has something to do with what I think should be done. Something that I think we can possibly achieve. But I don't believe that it's going to be an easy thing to do. But goals and challenges never are.

I read a book recently by Mem Fox called 'Reading Magic'. It talks about how we can encourage children to read and how we can get kids to love the act of reading. To me, I think it would be an amazing goal if we could promote literacy among Malaysian kids. At the moment, our literacy rate sits between 88-93%. Now I don't know exactly how we define literacy (as in, is it simply being able to identify the alphabet and read words at a very basic level? Or is it being able to read fluently?). But I read somewhere a scary statistic that didn't seem to reflect the high literacy rate - Malaysian children on average read 2 books a year (and this is the same with Malaysian adults). Malaysians prefer to watch the TV over hunkering down with a good book.

Now granted, the price of books these days aren't exactly cheap and I have yet to come across a decent library in KL...but surely the RM1,000 threshold set up by the government must help! But I suppose if you earn minimum wage and don't put in a tax return, then there really isn't any point to have a threshold.

I believe there must be a way with which we can help make our kids more avid readers. I am hoping that parents will spend time reading a book a day to their kids. That may be a huge commitment but how can you say spending 10 minutes daily with your child building their vocabulary and imagination a waste of time? (I'm laying on the guilt so you better feel bad!).

Or if you know of children who would love to be read to, READ TO THEM. Read aloud to youngsters as much as you can, as often as you can. I still remember the pleasurable times we had listening to '3 Little Pigs' and when the wolf tried to 'Huff and puff' and 'blow the house down!'. And the troll under the bridge, listening to the 'trip trop trip trop' of the littl' billy goat.

Somehow, there must be a way to get more kids into reading. If we can set up our future, then we're all set for the future. Malaysia can only become better with an army of highly literate children.

Dontcha think?

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