This is the abstract and findings of my research related to my Master’s course in Communication on the topic: influence of books and reading habit among children in Chennai. The research was carried out by conducting a survey with questionnaires and interviews as main tools. The duration of the research was for 3 months and the age group of children taken into consideration is from 13 to 15. The sample group consists of 200 children from 4 different schools in Chennai without bias on gender.
The findings in this research come with its own limitations which I should reveal in the beginning. Only limited amount of information can be acquired from the respondents or samples in the time span of just three months. As it is not possible to take survey on children from entire country or abroad in these 3 months, I could only take effort to conduct survey on children studying in selected schools in Chennai. . The findings in this research are derived from opinions of just 200 children from 4 schools in Chennai. So these findings cannot be a subject matter of demographical or geographical generalization.
Reading print text is the main source of accessing information and ideas. Inculcating a habit of reading would be a great constructive skill for a life time. With the influence of television, internet and multimedia gaming, reading habit is diminishing among youth especially children. It was a matter of curiosity for me to learn how the children in Chennai consider reading for.
My research revealed that the majority of children in Chennai read books. Merely 3 Out of 100 are nonreaders. Children are exposed to books in weekly rather than daily basis. “I read both fiction and nonfiction books. I read out of my own interest with little inspiration from parents and friends. Teachers never inspired me to read books” says Rohit Ravi, a standard 9 student of MCC School, Chetpet.
Not only Rohit, majority of children read both fiction and nonfiction books deriving inspiration from themselves i.e. they read on their own interest. Parents are source of motivation only to 18 out of 100 children while friends motivate 15 % of children. Surprisingly, teachers inspire merely 5.5 % of children
Majority of the respondents read for acquiring knowledge (96 out of 200). 93 respondents ranked ‘entertainment’ while 77 children opted for ‘self development’. “Here we have equipped each class room with mini libraries to inculcate reading habit among children. Nowadays owing to the influence of television and internet, reading habit is in decline among children. There are lots of initiatives to be carried out to bring back this great habit into the minds of children” says Dr. N. Vijayan, Principal and correspondent, Zion Matriculation Higher Secondary School, Selaiyur and recipient of National Best Teacher award.
Most of the respondents allocate specific timing for reading books and majority of them are in the opinion that one must develop reading as a habit. This research reveals the fact that majority of school going children in Chennai don’t possess a library membership although they are the main source of books to most of the children. Most of them borrow books through parents’ library cards while relatives, friends and neighbors lend books to another major chunk of respondents.
It is the youth who determine the future of a country. Reading habit helps to develop an individual both physically and mentally and make him or her to face this world with optimism. “Here we have reading days during which students are compelled to read books of their own choice. Reading is a habit worth inculcating for the wholesome development of an individual” remarks S.Namasivayam, Principal of Maharishi Vidya Mandir Senior Secondary School and recipient of national award.
Number of researches has been done on this topic but only a few are done to ascertain the awareness on fiction and nonfiction books among children. Since book reading habit is a broader topic, I faced difficulties in focusing on some specific points. But on the whole I had enjoyed a lot in conducting this research and satisfied with the answers that I acquired from the respondents. But whatever findings that I have derived at, is from the current mindset of the respondents. The opinions, ideas or viewpoints cannot be stable at all the time since the mindset of the respondents normally changes from time to time.