Word on the street: Cultivating reading habit

Public opinion on the streets of Muscat

Do you think events like book fairs are important to rekindle reading interest in younger generation?

Mirdas al Rashidi, Student

Of course, such events are important to rekindle interest in the younger generation. I visit the book fair every year with my friends and pick up a variety of books. The place is perfect as it offers books on a variety of subjects.

Ibrahim Ghoneim, Private sector employee

The book fair is an important event as it has the potential to attract a diverse crowd. Parents should make sure that they regularly take their children to such fairs so that they understand the importance of reading and how it can add zest to their lives.

Al Hanun Mohammed Sulaiman al Barwani, HR supervisor

Yes, we welcome such events as they give the youth an opportunity to expand their horizons. What is great about book fairs is there is something for people of all age groups. Visits to such fairs can be enjoyable for the whole family.

Malallah Mohamed al Zadjali, IT executive

 It’s very important to have words written on tangible pages. I think most people tend to skim through articles on electronic devices nowadays. When words are printed on paper, they get more attention and the reader slows down. Retention is also better when reading a hard cover book.

Badar Hamed Mohammed al Hatmi, Legal advisor

Yes, it’s very important. Children will have an opportunity to see, smell, touch, and hopefully read books outside a school environment. This will teach them that reading can be a hobby and not just for educational purpose.

Muhana Mohammed al Rashdi, Motor claims officer

 Book fairs give you access to varied view points, unlike the Internet which may only show a few popular things. Reading books by lesser known writers allows readers to have access to different viewpoints. This encourages critical thinking.

Do you think we need more Omani authors as role models to popularise reading? How do you think we can promote young writers in Oman?

Sahabuddin, Private sector employee

It is important to have more Omani authors as role models to popularise reading. The advent of social media has wiped out a whole generation of good writers as people do not read much anymore. By organising writing competitions and encouraging children to read more, we can promote more Omani writers.

Selim Parvez, Businessman

Authors and artists are flag-bearers of a country and Oman lacks young writers who can be role models. The best way to promote young authors is by organising more story-reading sessions in schools and at public events. Young minds must be encouraged to think outside the box and given the opportunity to put them down on paper.

Arun Roy, Private sector employee

Yes, Omani authors can act as strong role models and popularise reading among children and young adults. Youngsters should be motivated to take up writing even as a full-time career. Schools and cultural organisations should conduct poetry and writing sessions in schools and colleges so that we can identify buddings talents.

Tohid ul Alam, Private sector employee

Although Arab literature is very rich, there are not many Omani authors at present. I feel reading habits in both children and adults have come down in the last few years. To encourage writing, we need to ban social media among children. They should be kept away from mobile phones and tablets till a certain age. These gadgets kill free thinking. Once such distractions are done away with, they can focus on writing better.

Dr Hilal Hamad al Busaidi, Deputy Assistant Secretary General, Majlis A’Shura

We need to support Omani authors and publications, be it science, economics or literature. We also need to look at developing the writing skills of our people. With more support be it financial, advertising and marketing, I am sure we will have more Omani authors in future.

Hussain al Ameri, Private sector employee

We need a lot of Omani authors as role models to popularise reading. Omani authors need media support and help in marketing their books on a global platform. I am sure such support will encourage more people to take up writing.

Do you think reading habits have declined because of advent of technology? How do you think schools can help?

Said Masood, Lawyer

Reading from hard-bound books is vanishing as children are glued to mobiles, tabs or the Internet. Children do not spend time socialising too with other children and spend more time in front of screens. Schools can help by encouraging reading and telling them the disadvantages of excessive use of electronic devices.

Saeed al Hashmi, Lawyer

Yes, projectors and colourful boards have replaced traditional blackboards even in schools. Schools can stop depending on modern day technology to teach children. Since a child spends most part of her productive day in a school, he/she should be discouraged from using mobile phones there. Schools should also have dedicated reading periods.

Joby Joseph, Operations manager

Reading a book and on a tab are different. Modern day technology is nothing but a one-way communication that leaves you handicapped. Schools can teach students to keep away from all machines that will leave one handicapped and encourage reading more books than spending time on screens.

Heema Lobo, Event specialist

After parents, teachers are the more influential people in a child’s life. Children learn from their surroundings and from the company they are brought up in. Modern day technology does not allow children to interact with their peers. This is where schools can play an important role. School should discourage children from using mobiles and tabs in their premises. They should also use electronic machines only as an aid.

Hussain al Naamani, Businessman

Reading has drastically declined. Schools should limit the use of smartphones and computers so that children can indulge more in books. Reading from a book or a tab may have the same benefits in terms of gathering information, but if the child has a tab, he or she may indulge in surfing the Net more than in reading.

Akhil M J, Student

Reading from books has declined considerably as today children spend more time on mobile phones, tabs and the Internet. Schools should encourage reading from books and limit the use of technology in whichever way possible.

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