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Sunday, September 21, 2003


Some Malaysian Reading Habits

Though we are encouraged by the government to inculcate the  reading habit, not much has been done to allow this to be within the reach of many. Books these days are very expensive, a book on fiction easily cost more than Rm 30. The high cost of books was cited as one of the reasons why university students do not read novels sufficiently, see this study


Do Malaysians read a lot? The National Literacy Survey carried out in 1996 by the National Library showed that the average Malaysian reads only two books a year! The survey also showed that for children between the age of 5 and 9 years, the main factor which contribute to their ability to read is the income of the family. The higher that income, the higher the degree of literacy. It is obvious that the government must do more to make the reading habit a less expensive one. 


The National Library has reading promotion programmes, there is even a National Reading Promotion Committee, heading by Minister of Education and the Education Ministry (MOE website last updated 04.Jan.02 @ 845am) has its own Nilam or Sapphire programme. These are  targeted to specific groups such as children, youths and adults. But as to how actively they are being implemented  and how successful they really are we have little news.


More libraries should be set up in the smaller towns, more mobile libraries on wheels should be on the road and visiting the small towns more frequently. But as mentioned earlier, more money in the family's coffers and cheaper books will definitely go a long way to improving the reading culture and consequently the literacy of our young. The latest budget was not book reading friendly.


And for those who want to strengthen their reading habit, see this article by Kevin Eikenberry, he has ten ways to offer.


NB :: So for you Taipingnites with the Taiping Book Fair which is now on at the North Perak Kwantung Association from 19th Sept to 5th Oct, do take this opportunity to replenish your home libraries and get your children to read more books. Discounts are said to range from 15% to 70%. Happy reading.    



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