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December 17, 2016

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Illustration by Muhammad Faizan
Illustration by Muhammad Faizan

Reading broadens your mental horizon and increases your knowledge. It is a habit that must be maintained. It is a pastime activity which grooms your personality while improving your vocabulary. It also gives you an insight into history and provides you with knowledge.

Reading newspapers is a global practice which gives first-hand information to the reader about the happenings around the world. It keeps one updated with current affairs, sports, national and international news. Reading is of paramount significance for all, especially students and children.

You must develop a habit of reading stories, novels, comics and other books, such as encyclopaedias and informative books, because it helps you in many ways.

Firstly, it develops your vocabulary, which is important for verbal and written communication. Secondly, reading gives you the power of knowledge, which will help you in your studies and in life, because knowledge gained today remains with you and only increases in power with the passage of time.

ways. Firstly, it develops your vocabulary, which is important for verbal and written communication. Secondly, reading gives you the power of knowledge, which will help you in your studies and in life, because knowledge gained today remains with you and only increases in power with the passage of time.

Thirdly, reading is a healthy activity which nourishes your mind and personality, makes you reflect on life and provokes your thoughts, which increases your curiosity to learn more.

How to begin: To develop your reading habit, you should begin by reading short stories, magazines or books. This is because reading publications that have fewer pages will motivate you to read more. Therefore, for starters, it is recommended to begin with smaller books and gradually move to bigger and thicker books.

Keep a dictionary: While reading you will come across certain words that will be difficult to comprehend and you will require a dictionary or a thesaurus.

Although dictionaries and thesauruses are available over the internet, it is better to buy a pocket dictionary/thesaurus that you can keep with you when reading. This will help you identify meanings of unheard or difficult words then and there, and it will become a learning adventure for sure.

Reading groups: Over the weekend or on holidays, ask your close friends to meet for reading in groups. You can select a book and one friend can read aloud a chapter. While reading you can note down the difficult words and at the end you all can find the meanings of these words.

Group reading will also motivate you to read on your own and you can discuss the book with your friends during group reading sessions.

Bedtime reading: Although you can read anytime of the day, however, it is difficult to take out reading time if you are a student or a professional. Therefore, you can put your favourite books at your bedside and read a few pages or chapters before going to bed.

This is the best time to read as it is a peaceful time with no distractions from your external environment. Moreover, it is a fact that reading reduces stress and gives you peace of mind, hence you are likely to get a sound sleep later on.

Reading when travelling: Most of the time people get bored when travelling within the city, or when travelling on long routes. Keeping a book with you will ease the stress of travelling, while giving you ample time for reading.

Reading the Holy Quran: When working to develop a reading habit, it is imperative to read the Holy Quran. This will give you insight into Almighty Allah’s teachings and will provide you with the answers to all your questions.

It is necessary to read the Holy Quran daily because it keeps our faith strong and makes us pious and since we perform ablution (wudu) before reciting the Quran, it helps us in maintaining cleanliness.

Increase in knowledge: Reading books, novels, newspapers and any form of print or even online publication gives you knowledge that can be useful in your daily life. Reading biographies and books on world history, religion, sports, health and other genres gives you key insights of the subject.

As a student, it is necessary to increase your knowledge because not only it will help you in becoming part of a meaningful discussion at your educational institute or other gatherings, it will also help you grow into a charismatic individual.

Focus and concentration: Reading at least two pages of a book everyday helps in developing focus and concentration. This is imperative in life as every task requires focus. Therefore, reading builds that mental stamina to concentrate on an activity while using your mind.

A world-view: Reading gives you a picture of the different cultures, peoples, places and whatever is in the world. You can read novels that tell about different cultures, you can read historical accounts that tell you about bygone eras, while encyclopaedias tell you about the world.

It is kind of an entertainment and exploration at your fingertips without any cost.

Makes you disciplined: Book reading makes you disciplined because reading reduces the stress levels, calms down the mind because you are focusing on one word at a time and gives plenty of time to understand what you are reading.

Unlike watching TV, reading does not make you hyper or super active.

Hope these tips will help you begin or strengthen your reading habit. Keep reading books and visiting the wonderful minds and places around the world through its pages. Happy Reading!


Books every child must read

The classics

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl: This is a classic about five kids who win a chance to tour Willy Wonka’s mysterious candy-making factory. The vividly narration with amusing, cartoon-like sketches make this an interesting read for kids.

All of the other stories by Roald Dahl are excellent too and not to be missed by children of all ages.

Stuart Little by E.B. White: A classic novel about a small mouse living with a family of humans in New York. The sweet and shy Stuart sets off on the adventure of his life when he decides to find a lost friend.

Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll: This 1865 novel was written by English mathematician Charles Lutwidge Dodgson under a pseudonym. It’s a story everyone knows something about even if they haven’t

read it. Alice falls through a rabbit hole into a fantasy world populated by peculiar creatures with human attribute and concepts.

Anne of Green Gables by L. M. Montgomery: The irrepressible red-headed orphan Anne Shirley’s adventures are amusing, and she’s quick to learn from her mistakes and usually has only the best of intentions.

The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien: First published in 1937, it takes us into a different world, just the kind that would fascinate children of any age. Hobbit Bilbo is brave, loyal and cunning, and has the guts to take a stand against friends blinded by greed so he can help bring about peace.

Newer ones

A Bad Case of Stripes by David Shannon: A very cleverly written book that is excellent to read or be read aloud to kids, telling the lesson that doing things to fit in with others around you will just destroy your individuality.

An imaginative storyline expresses interesting aspects of peer pressure and self-esteem through the tale of Camilla Cream who loves lima beans, but she never eats them because the other kids in her school don’t like them and she doesn’t want them to think she is weird. Camilla gets so worried that she comes down with a case of the stripes -- her whole body looking like a brightly coloured rainbow – and the kids in school have a field day teasing her.

And the illustrations are vivid and so detailed.

Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing by Judy Blume: Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing is the first in Judy Blume’s ‘Fudge’ series about the Hatcher family: Mr and Mrs Hatcher, their older son Peter, a fourth grader, and younger son Farley Drexel, whom everyone calls Fudge.

The novel takes a humorous but honest view of sibling rivalry and the challenges of reasoning with an imaginative, stubborn three-year-old. This 2004 book and the others in the series, are for those who find classics boring and enjoy the humour of life in the new millennium.

Diary of a Wimpy Kid by Jeff Kinney: This is a blockbuster multi-book series starring middle schooler Greg Heffley, who is cluelessness about how to keep him out of trouble and why parents, teachers and friends easily get upset with him.

Humour abounds in the innovatively illustrated series narrated by an unforgettable kid every family can relate to.

Harry Potter series by J. K. Rowling: The HP books need no introduction, and even those who haven’t read the books must have seen the movies.

Published in Dawn, Young World, December 17th, 2016