100-Book Challenge is a reading competition where children from ages 6 to 8 and 8 to 15 years and above are expected to read at least 100 books with at least forty pages depending on the age for the prizes at stake. Nanna Selkur and Uche Uduma take a look at the relevance of this competition.
The idea of an ideal reading society may seem far-fetched. This is looking at it from our modern day’s society’s perspective.
Thus it may seem like a herculean task to try to imbibe a lasting reading culture in the lives of today’s younger generation.
This poor reading culture foundation according to experts is majorly responsible for the increase in student’s poor performance in national examinations.
Recently, keying into the transformation agenda of the president, stakeholders with strong passion for education in diverse fields of literature such as newspaper editors, authors, educationist and non-governmental organisations have come together to restore the reading culture that the nation once had, especially in the 1970s
Observers have raised questions pertaining to the practicability of these concepts, with the like of internet, computer games, home videos, IPod and toys competing for the children’s attention in 21 century. Indeed the task of restoring reading culture may seem unrealistic.
Despite these challenges, programmes geared towards restoring a virile reading society such as ‘Bring back the book’ and the most recent programme ‘100-book challenge’ are cropping up.
The 100-Book Challenge initiative aims at encouraging all Nigerian children to read at least 100 books over the course of a year. Each child is expected to keep a log of his or her accomplishment.
According to the founders of this competition, they will be working with schools and parents as well as foundations to ensure that children have access to books that they need for the competition either through libraries or online.
Gifts will be given to individuals and schools which complete reading at the end of the course of one year.
According to the group, doors are open for partnership, with individuals, foundations, banks, organisations and publishers to make available mini-libraries to public schools so that they can participate in the competition.
Why this competition?
Quoting the words of the former president of the United States of America, George Bush, “Too many of our children cannot read. Reading is the building block, and it must be the foundation for education reform.”
Speaking on a similar platform, the coordinator of 100-book challenge, Dr Fatima Akilu, said we have to get back to the foundation. She further affirmed that the easiest way to develop the mind is through reading. According to her, “When children are not passing exams we easily assume it is due to lack of studying their textbooks.
The fact is that those that have made a mark in these society, whether in the sciences, arts or social science have one thing in common - they are great readers. Reading develops your mind to think on a broad perspective which you can applied into your academics and in the world at large”.
Dr Fatima noted that a house without a library is a house without a soul. According to her, parents should be able to choose between buying a toy for their children and a book. She implored parents to see themselves as major players towards restoring a reading culture to society. This is as she urged publishers to make the prices of books affordable, as it has been asserted that the prices of books today are rather on a very high side.
The Federal Capital Territory director of Education Resources, Mrs Ramatu Ibrahim, while presenting a paper titled ‘Promoting Reading Culture As A key To National Development’ at the flag up of the 100-Book Challenge reading campaign in Abuja said reading should be included in schools timetable.
Mrs Ramatu further stated, like in the words of Edward James Olmos that ‘Education is a vaccine for violence’. She said education should be given priority in the nation through funding, as it is a key for emancipation.
She added that reading widely is an essential tool for an individual to fully participate in the modern day society.