Srishti works as a senior manager in a multinational company. She and is highly upset with the new batch of trainees that has entered her organisation. "Every year the problem seems to be getting worse," she complains. "These guys can't even draft a letter properly. If I ask them to quote someone, they wouldn't have even heard of the names! I wonder if they read anything while they were growing up. I give them a list of books to read and they hardly manage to finish even one over a three week period. They are good with their content but when it comes to reading, they just don't want to go beyond the newspaper!"
This is not an isolated case. One of the major problems faced by many senior level managers today is the resistance of employees to reading new stuff. A sense of complacency settles for many people once they have finished their college education and are well placed in their jobs.
Reading may look passive but it is actually highly active in nature.
The key to surviving the competitive market today is communication. The most important tool that aids communication is good language. And good language stems from good reading.
That brings us to the question of the day. How do we address Srishti's problem? Are we rearing a generation that is slowly losing out on reading skills? If the answer to this is yes, then it's time we got up and took stock.
I can hear voices that ask me, why do we need to read? If it's for information, then it's all there on the internet. If it's for entertainment, then I have a movie to watch or a game to play. Why something as passive as reading?
And this is exactly where the misconception lies: Reading may look passive but is highly active in nature.
Reading activates synaptic connections in the brain that impact other sensory interpretations also. While the mind tries to discover how the characters feel and respond, it also tries to see, hear and think like them. Meanwhile it tries to decipher counter arguments for the ones placed in the book.
"Most of my trainees," says Srishti, "inform me that they never read anything but school text books through school. They were never encouraged either. A few of them read despite their schools but stopped somewhere down the lane." This is why reading needs to be cultivated as a habit for life. It's not difficult to get kids hooked on to reading. We just need to figure out what is it that encourages them to read. Without trying to impose what we think is right reading, we need to encourage the habit. If your kid loves fiction hand him The Diary Of A Wimpy Kid. If she adores nonfiction, the latest National Geographic could do the trick. The process of initiating kids into reading has to be pleasant. Many kids read all their school books but do not step out of that domain. Forcing kids to read will only drive them further away.