There’s a primary school girl in our neighbour who has just started to borrow books from us. A habit we are trying to encourage. She can already read, which in itself is pretty awesome! Today she returned Fantastic Mr Fox by Roald Dahl and said: ‘my mother said it is not good to read novels’. What? I probed a little: ‘Why does she think that?’ ‘Because’, she replied, ‘she said it is not good to study literature’.

Hmmm, possibly a belief that reading and studying books will not get you a ‘good job’. There is a lot of work to be done in the education community here!


4 responses »

  1. cassie says:

    Oh interesting! I could kinda understand if the mother thought fairy tale/made-up type stories (lol I forget the proper word, its either fiction or non-fiction) were of little benefit (though of course it does help improve reading), but her reply about “its no good to study literature” that’s puzzling. I guess you have some detective work to do 🙂 And I also wonder, is it hard to get a job there that is more academic based then hands on labour work? Does that have something to do with some people not valuing reading as much? Though I’m sure there are many layers of reasons involved. Do parents favour boys reading over girls? I have many questions! Keep posting, we love your updates! Cas n Az

    • Glad you find it just as intriguing as me 🙂 The girl returned today. She wanted to borrow another ‘novel’. lol. Fiction 🙂 Of course I asked her to tell her mother about all the wondering benefits I thought there were to reading novels. She told me she told her mother and her mother said as long as it will help improve her English, then that is ok.
      Not sure exactly why, but my inkling is that studying literature means you aren’t really learning anything. It won’t help you to be a doctor, lawyer, etc. And most children here are told to read textbooks, not story books. They are even told not to read storybooks because it will not help them in exams 😦
      I think next time I have a little spot on the local radio I think I will start to share a little about reading story books.

    • Hey Cassie, there is a little update on this one I thought you would like to hear about. I am not sure if you read the recent post about the girl visiting, we give her homework, we went to have lunch with her family on the weekend. Anyway, that is the girl we are talking about. I had a nice chat with her mother. Surprisingly she speaks quite good English (grew up in Kampala) but cannot read or write. She just didn’t know that story books would help in school. Just a lack of education I think. Her daughter taught her her first lesson yesterday, sounds like she can read the words in and am at the moment – pretty cool!

  2. littlebigdoc says:

    I have always loved to read novels. Many of my peers don’t, and they don’t understand why anyone can read a book if it’s not to pass exams. Her mother probably thinks reading a novel should only be done to pass (literature) exams, it probably doesn’t cross her mind that this girl just enjoys reading books. When I was young, my mother did not discourage me from reading them, but she always got irritated when I forgot to do my chores because I had my nose in a book.

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