Reading Habits and Obstacles Faced by School Children in the Northern and Eastern Provinces in Sri Lanka

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Sunil, W
Amarasiri, G.D
Uditha Shyamal Gunasekara, A.K
Kamalamngani Subasinghe
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Library Network Eastern University, Sri Lanka
Reading occupies a pivotal role in the life of a man. Reading opens the doors of the treasures of knowledge. Reading is one of the most important components of our language and it is an essential tool for lifelong learning for all learners. In order to face the 21st century, education has to prepare these learners to adapt to social and technological changes that are taking place at an unprecedented rate. In this context, reading is a resource for continued education, for the acquisition of new knowledge and skills, for gaining information through media, especially newspapers, books, radio, television and computers. Reading habits are well-planned and deliberate pattern of study which has attained a form of consistency on the part of students toward understanding academic subjects and passing at examinations. Both reading and academic achievements are interrelated and dependent on each other. Students often come from different environments and localities with different levels of academic achievement. Therefore, they differ in the pattern of reading habits (Bashir & Matto, 2012). Reading which a long-term habit starting at very early ages is the prominent gateway to the knowledge room. It can be assumed as a practice that assists individuals to gain creativeness and develops their critical thinking capacities. In this sense, reading habit is an important tool for the development of personalities and mental capacities of individuals. In addition to personal and mental developments, reading is an access to social, economic and civic life (Clark and Rumbold, 2006). In Sri Lanka education has been provided free of charge from kindergarten to university level since mid-1940s and is given in the mother tongue of the pupil. The constitution of Sri Lanka treats education as a fundamental right, making primary education compulsory for children aged five year and above. Therefore, reading and reading habits play an important role in Sri Lankan education system. Generally reading and reading habits are used to decide different attribute of the readers. National Library and Documentation Services Board (NLDSB) conducted this survey with the objective of understanding the situation of reading habit of school children in Sri Lanka. The first stage of this survey was conducted in other provinces except the Northern and Eastern provinces in 2010. This survey conducted in the Northern and Eastern provinces is the second stage on the survey. This is the first survey conducted on reading habits of school children after the war situation that prevailed in the Northern and Eastern provinces. People of the Northern and Eastern provinces suffered due to the conflict situation for more than three decades. Presently peace has been restored in these areas and this is a good opportunity for expediting the socio economic and educational development. This survey is very important because it helps to understand the situation of reading habits and plan solutions to the problems related to reading habits and library facilities in the Northern and Eastern provinces in Sri Lanka.
International Symposium on Emerging Trends in Education and Library & Information Science