Wednesday, March 31, 2010


Turkey celebrates Library Week this week – an event that will go by unnoticed by most people .

First let me relate a conversation I recently overheard when I was in a stationary shop buying something .A parent and her son came and asked a shop assistant for some help to choose a book. The parent said that her son needed a novel for school. She said they wanted an adventure book about 300 pages long .The shop assistant offered the parent an Agatha Christie book . (The parent mentioned that the child’s teacher had recommended Agatha Christie ) .The parent flicked through the book for a second and then asked if there was any other alternatives.The shop assistant said there wasn’t anything, after which the parent went off to pay for the Agatha Christie book….

The child himself didn’t get the opportunity to browse through the other books, or at least the chance to read the back cover or the first page of the Agatha Christie book.
No thought was given whether the book would interest the student .
No mention of whether Agatha Christie would appeal to a young boy.( I have my doubts).
Of whether the book was suitable for his reading level ??..
I just wonder if that child will exactly read the book from cover to cover … ???

The majority of parents and teachers in Turkey unfortunately don’t usually know how to select an appropriate book for a child .The teachers generally suggest pupils should read book titles from the Ministry of Education's recommended "100 Classic booklist" . This list takes no account that children may have different reading levels. Most of the books on the list are long and quite hard books . The majority are completely unsuitable for a child with dyslexia or learning disabilities.

It must be remembered that the majority of parents do not know about the importance of reading to their child at an early age since most have had no experience of it themselves.As a result children sometimes have very little if no contact with books at an early age.

In addition for many people buying a book is a luxury item , especially for those more concerned with how they will feed their family !!!! If they do purchase a book generally it will be a cheap reprint of a classic book. Dyslexic children of course, if they are given an unappealing and boring book will be even more de-motivated to try to read it !!

This is why the Turkish Government needs to invest money into funding proper libraries with well- trained librarians so that they can :

encourage children to love and enjoy reading.
To help students and parents alike to guide them how to select the right book.
To assist pupils with learning proper research skills - which they are sadly lacking.
To give all people rich or poor the opportunity to read good literature.

My son recently went with his class from school to visit the neighbourhood library . My son who has seen libraries in the UK said that the library he visited was crying "Please paint me !!! Please fill my shelves with some modern books !!
Please blow my cobwebs away “

Happy Library week to all in Turkey !!!
NB Agatha Christie - Is reputed to have been dyslexic....

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