Reading is one of the important components of school education. The skill of reading is important to learn as it transcends to other subject areas and affects child's learning in those subject areas. Therefore it is imperative for a child to have mastery over reading skills. Here it is to be remembered that the word "reading" stands for reading meaningfully and not merely sounding out the written text. The act of reading is an act of making sense or meaning out of the text by the reader and it applies to readers of all age group.
The traditional approach of teaching reading believes that in the initial years of schooling if the child learns to recognize alphabets or hindi varnamaala and its corresponding sounds then only the child will be able to learn to read. This process of teaching reading is called bottom up approach where the whole focus is on the individual letters and its sound and no focus on construction of meaning.
In India, however, this is an unfortunate fact that our young children do not get scope of individualized reading. It means that children hardly get to read any text which is of their interest. The pleasure of reading for its own sake is somewhere missing for our children and also one of the biggest reasons that our children fails learn to read meaningfully (NCF-05).
Reading amongst the children cannot be developed by just sticking to the text books or books based on sounds. Especially at an early age this has to be communicated to the children that reading a text is a very much meaningful activity. Children should be kept at distance from mechanically practicing the sounds of the letters and memorizing the shapes of the letters. This whole process of mechanically memorizing and practicing the sounds for a longer duration of time leads the children towards losing their interest from reading.
Libraries can be used a place where children can read what they want. However this task will not be as simple as it seems to be. First of all if we are talking about the library for children then criteria for selecting books for children has to be done with great care. It does not mean that books should overtly teach morals and other life skills. It is very essential that the books should primarily give sense of enjoyment to the children.
lf librarians are given adequate orientation about the way children read, their interest areas, types of books required for early readers, and the role of library in enhancing reading habit amongst the children then it can really work as a magic. A capacitated librarian can also be a strongest medium of nurturing the seed of reading in children.