Today, Indonesia is incessantly promoting the literacy movement. Many parties are involved in the movement, ranging from the government, communities, schools, and individuals. They are all united to grow Indonesian children’s reading interest. Various programs and activities are carried out to support the literacy movement. In various schools, reading culture is embedded by setting aside 10 minutes to read before learning session start. There is also a government program called “free cargo literacy” that facilitates the delivery of books to various regions. Lately, many women are also holding get together events (arisan) to save money for children books. All these activities provide a breath of fresh air for the Indonesian literacy movement.
Almost all parents want their children to have good reading habits. A question we often hear from parents on this is, “How do we build children’s reading interest when they prefer to play with gadgets and watch television?” There are many possible answers to this question, both theoretically and empirically. However, the fundamental question is, “Before telling the children to read, do the parents themselves like to read and have they reduce television and gadget use in front of their children?” We often forget that being a role model is much more influential than telling someone to do something, even if it is a good thing.
Encouraging children to read is not easy and cannot be done only through words, but rather, it is something that we have to lead by example. Role modeling is needed because of its powerful ability to transfer values, traits, and characters. Children need real examples to do good things. It would be strange if the child was told to keep reading while the parents were always busy playing with their gadgets. Role modeling plays a fundamental part in education. According to psychologists, the instinct of copying is a strong instinct rooted in humans, and almost 75% of the learning process is obtained through the process of seeing and observing.
Therefore, we must first start with ourselves to develop reading interests. As parents, we should show our children that we also like to read. As a literacy community, we should be a role model and show our interest in reading, either through our social media posts or literacy activities in public spaces.
Let’s be a role model to foster Indonesian children’s reading interest! (Fajri Alfalah)