Helping acim school and adults to develop skills they need to fully participate in an information society is central in a librarian’s mission of providing the highest quality library and information service in society. Books help children read. They are more helpful than reading schemes because they promise and provide pleasure in reading. Both teachers and school librarians should be influential in the child’s reading process but they need good knowledge of children’s literature so that they can choose and help these young readers at all levels.
The Library Association singled out four areas as being enhanced by reading and use of a variety of sources of information namely: intellectual and emotional development; language development; social development; and educational development. In view of this there is every reason for teachers and librarians to promote reading in school. What then is reading?
Current attempts to define reading tend to regard it as a thinking process with attention focused on comprehension. That is to say reading is a mechanical and thoughtful process requiring the reader to understand what the author is endeavoring to communicate and to contribute his own experience and thoughts to the problem of understanding. As far back as 1913 Huey began formulating such ideas as can be noted from his frequently quoted words:
Reading is perceived as a progressive social phenomenon in that it is a means of forming people’s social consciousness; it is used as an instrument in implementing the task of continuing education and raising pupils cultural standards. In brief it is a means of increasing professional knowledge and skills and drawing people into a more creative life. In Sierra Leone, however, the task of ensuring that children learn to read, and of finding ways of helping them to do so is one of general concern to all teachers in both primary and secondary schools.
One of the reasons why teachers are eager to help pupils to learn to read is that in modern society literacy is essential. In helping children to read they will not only be able to read but that their reading will develop into life-long habit. Thus a great deal of attention in schools is paid to: