Is there a reading problem in Nigeria?
Yes! There is a reading problem in Nigeria. This problem is not just restricted to a particular age group or culture but glaringly existent in every age group and every social class in the country. Indeed, the rich, poor, the middle class, educated, and the not so educated find it very hard to read. The act of reading is almost always seen as a burdensome task. When an average Nigerian is asked to read, their reaction seems like they have just been given the death penalty. It is not a surprise that the quote “The best way to hide something from a black man is to put it in a book” has become increasingly popular. Albeit, I do not agree with the school of thought.
Ways of Improving the Reading Culture in Nigeria.
One very tactful way of improving the reading culture in Nigeria is by writing articles that are in sync with the happenings in the country. Writing about topics that are trending not only interest the people in society, but also help enlighten members of society. Writing on topics that spark conversations on the social front is a very good way to get people to enjoy reading. People want to be informed; they want to be able to hold conversations as well as be able to contribute meaningfully to these conversations. It interestingly also provides a platform for people to air out their opinion about a certain event and happening in the county.
An article should be so well written that it reminds people about the essence of reading and the kind of information they stand to lose when they do not read. This can ultimately be done by sort of making teasers on posters, and flyers or making a short advertising video on various social media platforms such as Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. This could be in form of a summary of the article or a short story. I believe that short powerful videos are very effective in attracting traffic. Most people would rather spend 10minutes to 1hour to watch a video than to take 5minutes off their time to read a book.
Furthermore, the reading culture can be improved by organizing a reading competition in which people are allowed a book or a text to read and are allowed to answer questions on that book. This should be done with the provision of consolation prizes. What this does is that it provides an avenue for people to read while being conscious of the fact that they will be compensated for doing something beneficial to them.
Yet another brilliant way to improve the reading culture in Nigeria is by asking people to review a particular book or article with the emphasis on how it resonates with them. This way, many have more understanding of what it is they are about to read or are reading. Book reviews are not just important for readers, as it allows even the writers to promote not just sales but helps to carry on a dialogue between the author and the readers.
Finally, I must emphasize that publicity is the very soul that drives public opinion. Public opinion in turn controls the course of things. There are certain people in society that others look up to. Whatever these sets of people endorse, they are sure to have thousands of people that would join their bandwagon. An example of these people are celebrities, politicians, and even social elites. The popular thought process would be that these role models or mentors cannot take them on the wrong path to success. Consequently, this will result in the influencing of people to adopt a healthier reading culture.
My Progress in Improving the Reading Culture in Nigeria.
Amongst the very numerous reasons for which I created my blog was to improve the reading culture of Nigerians which is clearly stated on the mission part of the blog. This is why with whatever article I publish, I try as much as possible to make it relatable. Relatable in the sense that, with each personal experience I write about, or political issues I address, my readers can understand what it is I am discussing. If this is not one of the most important aspects of writing, then what is?
I have also tried to make the focus of the blog very encompassing hence the reason for having categories that focus on politics, food, life issues, mental health, random gist, arts, entertainment, reviews, society, and culture. With these, I can be sure that the contents of my blog provide for different people from different walks of life. I as well ensure that I engage with people on social media platforms by providing short stories, prescribing books as well as journals for them to read.
More importantly, I publish original articles frequently on the blog. I also feature as a guest writer on other blogging platforms. As a writer, the importance of consistency cannot be overemphasized. Readers want to see what you have in store for them and this should be met. Appearing as a guest writer, as well as providing my writing services has not only helped to improve the reading culture of Nigerians but has also helped in contributing to the availability of more reading materials.
Ultimately, despite the poor reading culture of Nigerians, Nigeria still has a very active pool of readers. The government, charitable individuals, and non-governmental organizations all have active roles to play in the improvement of Nigeria’s reading culture. It is, for this reason, I say with almost all certainty that if the above steps are implemented the reading culture of Nigerians would drastically receive the change which it so desperately needs.
What the Future of Reading will Look Like.
The future of reading will be clouded with obscurity and darkness in one way. Dark in the sense that the reading culture of people would be poor. This darkness would be facilitated by the influence and growth of several social media platforms. Social media has undoubtedly changed the world and with it, several trends have arisen. One of which remains the decline of readers and standard reading practice. This has been evident in the global decline of people that read directly from books, newspapers, or news sites.
How is that a bad thing? You might ask. The effect of this trend is that we will now get to see a higher percentage of people spending more time online than they ought to. Is spending more time online really a bad thing? Are there not eBooks and articles, magazines online? My answer to these questions is, Of course! There are eBooks and other reading materials available for reading. The problem, however, is in the fact that social media is designed in the way that short stories and articles are most readily available to people. By extension, because these short stories, videos, and motivational quotes are available people are getting accustomed to short stories and content which makes it overbearingly difficult for them to have as little as a 5minutes read.
The consequence of this cycle is that detailed hardcopy books would either not be as popular anymore because most people wouldn’t have the time or patience to read or, it would become non-existent. They would either opt for short stories and reviews instead of going through several pages of books. The use of infographics such as statistical graphics, information visualization, information architecture will astronomically be on the increase.
The future of the reading culture will also feature the rise of several publishing apps, various reading and blogging apps, sophisticated instant blog builders, apps that not only help in scheduling reading sessions for the day but also reads aloud and explains the work of the author to the reader.
How to Prepare for the future.
As a promoter of the reading culture, my solution to the problems stated above will be to first of all make sure that whatever articles or work I publish are valuable to the society. When you as a writer can produce valuable work, finding a reader would be a walk in the park. Ultimately, it is the value that writers give that influences the attitudes and behaviours of readers.
Another solution will be to put a stop to rigidity. The truth of the matter is, most writers lack the skill to make their work catchier and so they produce rigid and colourless work. As a writer, you can make an academic paper less rigid and more simplified and it will still be a very worthy piece. Making reading more enjoyable will be very beneficial to the future of reading. For instance, software developers should work with publishing firms and writers to develop gaming software that would provide an environment where readers can read and play games. It could be done in such a way that once a reader is done with a certain stage of reading on the app, they are then introduced to a crossword puzzle or games where their knowledge of words and grammar is tested.
Furthermore, in as much as social media has contributed to the decline of the reading culture in our world today, social media should be used by the promoters of the reading culture to their very advantage as it would result in a positive outcome. The human mind works in a way that when people are reminded of a particular thing almost every time, curiosity gets the better of them. This is why I prescribe advertising and publicity for the community of readers and writers as well.
In conclusion, writers should continue to raise the bar by producing standard and valuable work with which every individual in society can find what appeals to them. Various promoters of the reading culture must as well continue to strive to make sure that they are not left behind in the progression of things as relating to what will be beneficial to readers in the long run.