Lack of Reading Habit = Lack of Critical Thinking

A country with amazing natural and human resources has a potential in becoming one of the most powerful countries in the world. However, several factors deter it to happen. These factors lie on the human resources, a main component in achieving all goals. The quality of human resources determine how a country will be built, developed, and controlled. Among several factors, there is one factor which is holding back a country from being a great nation. It is the lack of critical thinking.

For me, critical thinking is an ability to process many information and then produce an unbiased conclusion. This is what many people are incapable to do. Based on my experience on field as SM-3T teacher and my surfing activities, I found many people are lacking in gathering and processing information which resulted in many biased, ignorant, uncritical and unethical opinions or conclusions of several important events. People tend to react to an issue based on their own belief and theories, others (friends and environment)'s opinion without trying to do some researches to obtain many relevant information and sources. People react following their emotion instead of trying to find out, analyze what is actually happening, what is/are the cause(s), how it happens, what is the motive behind this. The worst result is blaming someone who has no relation and even does not have any right to interfere the issue. However, ignorant people will always be ignorant if they do not wish to change.

Lack of critical thinking is a result of lack reading habit. When someone likes to read, they will develop a critical thinking, even if what they read is fiction. In fiction, no matter how bad the literature is, readers are invited to think about the plot. A good example comes from Sherlock Holmes series by Conan Doyle. These novels are taunting the readers with unique mysteries which induce readers to analyze the crime scenes and their clues. Novels like this train readers' brain in brainstorming an idea then combine it with several clues which produce lots of possibilities. With last clue lest, readers' brain will sew the threads together into a whole spider web. That is why when we read Sherlock Holmes, in the end we will have reaction like, "Hey why that person behaves like this?" "OMG, that's why she does this." etc.

Now let's go to light reading, for kids mostly. The appropriate example will be Harry Potter series. If you say, "What? A fantasy book about wizard with weird spells and the chosen one plot?" Then I will say that you are lacking critical thinking because you have not done any reading of this series or researches about this series. Why? 

Harry Potter has more than just a simple good vs evil, or love conquers all. It has something we seldom find in many fantasy books, politic. Starting from Harry Potter and Goblet of Fire, politic plays an important role in Harry Potter universe through Ministry of Magic. Many policies are found as references of many things that happen in this world. Readers, whether they want or not, are forced to acknowledge how dirty politic is, especially when influential people are involved. We also learn government's intervention sometimes cannot be avoided, especially when they have an agenda of their own. See? Many knowledge can be found in children book series.

To increase reading habit is not easy. My SM-3T experience proved as much even when I tried to approach children, the most fascinating and curious creatures aside of cats in this world. Parents play important part in creating a reading habit for their children. The most simple as well as intimate way is by reading to the children before bed. 

Here is the benefit of bedtime story according to Caroline Hartwell, Parenting Expert at Tinies in an article in Huffingtonpost.

"Bedtime stories help to bring out imagination in children, it helps with their thought processes, and it can also serve as a teaching tool for everyday life skills and scenarios that need to be learnt. Furthermore, they teach our children, in an engaging manner, how to achieve a positive outcome in life.

A more scientific approach shows that reading aloud can improve their speech and language skills, while increasing their spelling ability and memory too. Reading also encourages their logical thinking, a series of life skills we all need!

In addition, if your children are very young and just starting to read, bedtime stories can teach them primary colours, counting, shapes, and nursery rhymes in a fun, exciting, and age appropriate way."

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If children are taught to develop a critical think by increasing reading habit since they are very young, I believe that we can get many qualified human resources which surely benefit for not only one coutry, but also worldwide's prosperity.

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