Oxford University Press launches its REaD campaign

 New Delhi: Oxford University Press (OUP) India launched its ambitious REaD campaign to foster a love of reading among children, with a panel discussion on the importance of reading led by renowned educationalists, publishers, animators and writers. The eminent panellists from India and the UK shared their views on the importance of inculcating reading habits at a young age as well as suggestions on enabling students to grow into avid readers.

The enlightening and engaging panel discussion was led by esteemed thought leaders such as Dr. Biswajit Saha, Director, Skill Education and Training, CBSE; Dr. Shayama Chona, Padma Shri, Padma Bhushan awardee, former principal, Delhi Public School RK Puram; Barry O’Brien, educationalist, author of OUP textbooks, quizmaster; Benita Sen, educationalist, children’s author, journalist; Sonia Relia, author of OUP pre-primary courses; Andrea Quincey, Director, Primary Literacy, OUP UK; Rajiv Chilaka, founder and CEO, Green Gold Animation; and Mallika Ghosh, Associate Director, Products, OUP India.

Elaborating on the benefits of reading, the panellists shared that even light reading provides many benefits, that range from increasing verbal and creative skills; to nourishing our capacity for empathy; and even reducing prejudice against stigmatised groups. Skills developed as a reader allow one to become accustomed to inhabiting unfamiliar worlds; seeing things from new perspectives; and contemplating how a chain of events can lead to unforeseen outcomes. The panel discussion also focussed on the critical role of parents and grandparents in raising young readers. Parents are the most important educators in a child’s life and it is never too early to start reading together. Reading daily to young children, including new-borns, even for just a few minutes, gives them the comfort of hearing their parents’ voices and increases their exposure to language.

Andrea Quincey, Director, Primary Literacy, OUP UK, shared her thoughts on the role of reading in shaping a child’s holistic growth and said, “There is no better companion than a good book. Reading is beneficial for an individual’s overall well-being. Once you start reading, you experience a whole new world while also strengthening your language skills and vocabulary. While helping one relax and reduce stress, reading daily for even a few minutes also helps stretch the brain muscles for healthy functioning. Inculcating good reading habits is the best gift that a parent can give their child. However, like any habit, reading also has to be slowly and consistently introduced into a child’s routine, as an exciting hobby and not a chore. The REaD campaign, aims to help parents, teachers and students develop these good reading habits to unlock every child’s true potential.”

The REaD campaign is designed to support students, teachers, and parents, to come together as a community to help children readengage and develop. OUP understands that reading is a fundamental life skill, which unlocks learning, supports emotional well-being, language development and communication skills. Reading for pleasure can be fun, and it can also help improve educational outcomes across all subjects. In this way, OUP is aligned to the most prominent national initiative of the Ministry of Education to enable children to become motivated, independent and engaged readers and writers. Through its campaign, OUP aspires to empower the community of young readers with sharp comprehension abilities as well as sustainable reading and writing skills by encouraging the use of both printed materials and digital tools that can reinforce literacy skills and increase engagement.”

On the launch of the REaD campaign, Sumanta Datta, Managing Director, OUP India commented, “At OUP we believe that it is our duty to empower young minds with the critical skill of reading, so that they are able to shape a better tomorrow for themselves and those around them. Reading allows children to embark on a journey of imagination and creativity, and transport themselves to locations and times that are sometimes beyond the realm of the physical world. It is a foundation skill, that figuratively and literally forms the basis for all skills and capabilities that are essential to excel in the shifting work landscape. Reading is a habit and one that must be inculcated and nurtured at a very young age. Through our REaD campaign we hope to create an enabling ecosystem that supports and encourages young readers. Our vision is to be a part of the national mission of National Education Policy 2020 and equip learners with reading skills so that they become motivated readers of quality content and thrive in the 21st century as lifelong learners.”

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