Reading is not a conscious effort to examine the literary work of a writer, as my father used to tell me, but rather, reading is the appreciative action taken to plunge into the imaginative mind of the writer – to be part of his world – looking at the possibility of a virtual reality. In Ghana, reading has been a facet of the learning and it will continue to be. For one to learn one needs to read, we can say that reading is indispensable when it comes to academia–the acquisition of knowledge. The beauty of this fact is that, the rate one reads in his childhood or developmental stages is imperative for the formation of a formidable intellectual proclivity in the future. Children who grow in an environment where reading is sternly and incessantly encouraged turn out to have upgraded mental faculties in the upper echelon of their educational ladder to children who are not fortunate to have the similar training.
Reading is not just a facet of the educational program, but rather a formidable arsenal when it comes to mental warfare and academic duels. Also, in the case of creativity and innovation, I would say that reading play a very paramount role in this. In that, the creative abilities and the imaginative quotient of humans – children are developed solidly with incessant and effective reading. Ghana as a developing country unfortunately have a feeble knack when is comes to reading. A lot of people enjoy television, video games, TV games and musical video than reading. It’s sad to see school going children know everything on the Television but have not read any of the elementary books like Treasure Island, Oliver Twist, the Old Man and the Sea among others.
A lot of measures have been put in place to encourage the reading culture, but most Ghanaians are still conservative and are not ready to give in to reading. Another interesting item is also the upsurge of social media in Ghana. Social media in Ghana is at its crescendo and I believe it leaves a lot to be desired. Facebook, Snapchat, Twitter, Instagram, WhatsApp, Jodel, Imo and others have also come in handy to provide the excitement that lurked in the souls of Ghanaians. Now every Ghanaian has either an account on any of the above mentioned social media platforms and they spend a lot of time and resources there to the detriment of ever picking a book to read. But I still believe Social media is not so much of a bane to children reading, but can by approached in a way so it can serve as a catalyst to encourage the reading culture in a developing country like Ghana. With all that have happened, I am not so much impressed with the status quo, but I am optimistic that the reading culture in Ghanaians can be promoted in ways I hope to expound below.
To begin with, reading culture can be encouraged by making reading exciting, fun and attractive again. I believe a way to look at this is to encourage more contemporary writers to write stories that apply to the current generation. This is not to the detriment of the ancient writers. However, I believe the contemporary writers can be patronized or allowed to blend in with that ancient writers. Most of the time when I go to the library and take a book that has no elements or settings to this dispensation I quickly shun it. I try to read but the impetus is not there because it has no coherence to my current world. I believe Ghanaians will easily patronize contemporary writing and works and they will have the ability to soar the reading culture in them. The current age is totally disparate from the ancient days. I believe in the ancient works in that they have their own dose of wisdom and tradition that makes us Ghanaians and help us to appreciate who we are, but the fact is straight, contemporary writers and works matter and we should encourage that more if we want to encourage the reading culture in the current generation.
To be continued…
Jacob Amanor Osae