By: Gabriel Dinda
So much has been said about the sorry state of reading culture in Kenya. Everyone seems to have an opinion about how bad the reading culture is. Very few people though, seem to have ideas on how to make it better. Those who have, seemingly, have given up on sharing such ideas. On reflecting about this issue, I seem to have hit the gold, at least in my opinion. What if we try Home Book Clubs to encourage reading culture?
A family is the basic unit of a state. Kenya is made up of many families, which are trapped together by an imaginary boundary. Whatever one is taught at a young age, is most likely going to stick with them for a long time. It is from this background that I think reading culture can get a lifeline.
Imagine for a while a book club consisting of father, mother and 9-year-old daughter. So, the three, make a timetable that between 8pm and 9pm, every other thing(including soap operas), will wait, for the family to have their book club session. So, the father has to come from work early enough, the mother has to prepare dinner early enough and the daughter, let’s call her Kadogo, has to finish her home work early enough to create time for the book club. The first siting of the book club is deciding on which book to read, the members of the book club all decide on the same.
So, during the actual session, Kadogo reads two paragraphs, daddy reads the subsequent paragraphs and mommy does the same and everybody else rotationally. At the end of it all, the three readers discuss the main points, which they picked from the section of the book read that day, then they all pray together and then resume their respective duties.
Imagine consistently doing this with your family! Through this, I foresee that the family will not only be bonded together, but there will be general serene atmosphere because all the family members will be on the same page, so there will be nothing to #FikiaWazazi. Lessons learnt from such sessions will stick with each other. Nothing inspires action like leading by example. Nothing encourages a child than seeing daddy and mommy doing it together.
I also foresee that through this, the culture will be instilled in the child (and family members in general), from this early age, and this will surely be a ticket to having an adult who thinks. Overally, we shall have a cohesive country, because we shall have raised a country where people contemplate and engage with others through books. This perhaps, is the best gift that we can give ourselves.
Let us try this, perhaps it could be the magic bullet in solving Kenya’s perennial poor reading culture.