Journeying into written words

Daniel Lim

With the school holidays in full swing and families across the nation taking the opportunity to spend the holiday season together, the need to ensure the continuous learning for the young generation is stronger than ever in today’s climate.

As such, libraries across the nation are hosting school holiday programmes to instill the habit of reading from an early age among students.

At the Kuala Belait Language and Literature Bureau (DBP) Library, located right off Jalan McKerron along Jalan Padang, one such activity that is being held is a reading circle for children and teenagers.

As an initiative by the library in conjunction with the school holidays, Assistant Librarian Grade 1 at the Kuala Belait DBP Library Adylah bin Khalid explained, “Having an activity such as the reading circle is very important – primarily for children – as it helps to encourage them to read from an early age, especially during the modern times, with the widespread use of technology.”

He noted that the long term use of gadgets such as smartphones and tablets can have negative consequences. Hence these activities would help to separate the children’s dependency on these technologies and help to develop their interaction with other children.

Adylah believes that to encourage the habit of reading, it is important to make the activity an exciting one.

Youth in a reading circle. PHOTOS: DANIEL LIM
ABOVE & BELOW: Assistant Librarian Grade 1 at the Kuala Belait DBP Library Adylah bin Khalid explains the initiative; Zafran Fayyadh bin Md Hardi (R) immerses himself in a storybook.

“One way that we can encourage reading is to find out what the children are interested in and work towards finding reading materials that can complement the interests,” he said.

“In addition, we have prepared several interesting posters to trigger the children’s imagination and creativity, and lure them into participating in reading activities.”

He also noted how the response, especially from parents and guardians, has been positive, as the activities provide opportunities for children to spend their holidays productively, which has also resulted in parents and guardians expressing hopes for the activities to be held more frequently at the library.

“As it is an easily accessible library, located at the heart of Kuala Belait, children are able to make full use of the facilities here, while taking part in activities that not only serve to expand knowledge and instill a love for reading, but also provide a respite from the dependency on technologies and face-to-face interaction with other children,” he added.

Student Zafran Fayyadh bin Md Hardi said he makes use of his time at home to read, with the help of his parents. Being immersed in storybooks has encouraged him to find deeper meanings and morals in the written words. He also finds that reading has improved his ability to new knowledge and language.