Vipul Tyagi, CEO, and Co-founder of EdTech Startup Orphicy. An electronics and telecom engineer, Vipul co-founded Orphicy along with 3 academicians in 2020. The startup offers live online coaching for the school curriculum (Classes 5-10) and also helps students prepare for NTSE/ Olympiads and other competitive exams. The learning modules are designed with a holistic approach focusing on extracurricular activities along with academics. Orphicy is Vipul’s second entrepreneurial venture. His first business venture already rakes in revenues to the tune of 100 million INR.
“To acquire the habit of reading is to construct for yourself a refuge from almost all the miseries of life as reading gives us the habit of solitary reflection and enjoyment.” – W Somerset Maugham
Why cultivate the habit in the first place?
A child’s reading skills are vital as they allow them to access the breadth of the curriculum and improve their communication and language expertise. In addition, reading can be fun and be an imaginative time for children, which opens the doors to all kinds of new worlds for them.
In today’s world with so much more to know and to learn and also the need for a conscious effort to conquer the divisive forces, the importance of reading has increased. In the olden days, if reading was not cultivated or encouraged, there was a substitute for it in the religious sermon and in the oral tradition. As a part of our curriculum at Orphicy, we have identified ‘reading’ as a key area for development and will be included in the future strategic development plans too.
It is being said that “No two men can read the same book”, what it means is that whenever two people read a book, each one has his own interpretation. Each one paints the protagonist as per his own imagination. When two people watch an Iron Man movie, they know exactly how the superhero looks like, there is not much left to imagine but reading a book gives you an opportunity to paint your own canvas. Books are a rich source of information and knowledge. Reading books on diverse genres imparts information and gives you a deep insight into the topic you read about. You always learn something new when you read.
Two kinds of habits – Serious reading and leisure reading. The interrelationship.
Reading for pleasure makes a big difference to children’s co-curricular performance. Evidence suggests that children who read for fun every day not only perform better in reading tests than those who do not but also develop a broader vocabulary increased general know-how and a better understanding of other cultures. In fact, reading for pleasure is more likely to determine whether a child does well at school than their social or financial background.
Learning to read is about listening and understanding as well as working out what is printed on the page. Through hearing stories, children are exposed to a wide range of words. This helps them build their own vocabulary and improve their understanding when they listen, which is vital as they start to read. It is important for them to understand how stories work too. Even if your child does not understand every word, they will hear new sounds, words, and phrases which they can then try out, copying what they have heard.
What does the Research point at?
It is a proven fact that those who have good reading habits show signs of higher intelligence. With diverse and bountiful genres books open up the mind and enhance the creative ability and language skills. The fiction of reading develops empathy and helps build better relations with others. You become a part of the story and naturally empathize and sympathize with the characters. You become more aware of how people get affected in different situations. It enhances your overall ability to empathize with others.
By active reading, you explore several aspects of life too. It involves questioning what you read. It helps you develop your thoughts and express your opinions. You engage your mind in understanding and thinking higher. You start comparing your point of view to the writer’s perspective. New ideas and thoughts synthesize in your mind by active reading. It stimulates your brain and provides you with a fresher perspective.
How can institutes and parents foster such an enabling environment?
Institutions that are established with vision aren’t merely bothered about a child’s co-curricular achievements but also stretch their sight beyond it. Kids that are empowered from their younger days towards the development of life skills, one amongst them being reading, tend to do better in life and career, and that’s where the actual vision lies.
Effective contemporary practices like shared reading and parent-child reading have developed with time and have shown its impact on children in all dimensions. Research proves such practices help children in the areas of
- Language and vocabulary development
- Communication and opinion formation
- Development of team skills
- Sensitization to the practice of resource sharing.
This in the long run empowers them psychologically and spiritually, making them more interactive and responsible citizens.
Consequently, having understood the importance of reading, its contemporary practices, and its impact on the younger ones, it’s important to determine who shares the responsibility of passing on this age-old wisdom to Generation Z. The leadership should be shared equally between parents and the educational institutions that build the very persona or the character of the individuals. The institutions build an environment that stimulates the habit of reading while the parents function as the backbone of the implementation that follows post the stimulation. It is also vital to note that the reading ability is a fruit that gives returns only in due course of time. An instantaneous expectation might just impede the development process. When the aforementioned entities combine, the institutions and the parents, the combined force can give rise to a more socially aware and conscientious generation.