The beginning of 2020 has seen millions of lives turned upside down due to the global outbreak of COVID-19. Educational institutions across 192 countries have temporarily shut their doors, with closures affecting over 91% of enrolled students, according to UNESCO.
As more and more children are being forced to stay home from school, the risk of students becoming disengaged from or deprived entirely of their education is higher than ever. Here are a few reasons why reading is a past-time that we should be actively supporting during this tumultuous moment in history.
The brain is a muscle that needs strengthening to further its development. Reading is a simple way to help keep students’ minds stimulated and focused during the global upheaval that has created many barriers to education. Not only does reading feed students’ intellect and curiosity towards literacy, but it also aids the development of crucial skills such as analytical thinking, creativity, and comprehension. These are important factors in helping students remain in touch with their learning until formal education systems make a full recovery. Reading fosters literacy, and literacy changes lives.
According to studies conducted by the Journal of College Teaching and Learning, 30 minutes of reading can help to lower one’s heart rate and blood pressure, as well as reducing psychological distress.
Reading affords us the ability to project ourselves into the lives of others and sink into alternative realities. Whether this is the whimsical lands of Roald Dahl’s fiction or a biographical memoir, the act of reading can transport us to new dimensions. This process can help to mitigate feelings of isolation and estrangement which are particularly present during this time of social distancing.
What Larger Challenges Are Being Faced?
While COVID-19 is impacting students in both developed and developing countries, it is critical that we are aware of vulnerable and disadvantaged students. Due to socio-economic challenges, some students are not able to access necessary technological, educational, or financial resources. On top of this, students already facing disadvantages in other areas are those who are least likely to return to schools once their doors reopen, which will only fuel the cycle of socio-economic hardship. This is precisely why international literacy development is needed now more than ever.
By encouraging reading among students who have the opportunity to do so, and focusing on providing educational support to those who don’t, we can take small, yet impactful, steps towards combatting illiteracy during this challenging time.
Find out how what the World Literacy Foundation is doing to help. Take a look at the new digital learning content on the Sun Books tablets focuses on preventative health to quickly upskill children in knowledge about the coronavirus.
The Sun Books team is also encouraging teachers and parents to use the tablets at home and in their communities to keep children learning and reading with the over 400 eBooks and educational activates available on the app without internet required.