Social Studies

Cultivating the Reading Habit





“I liked going to the library when I was a little girl. Library was a place of wonder and pleasure to me. I liked the sight of books and how tidy the shelves looked, I liked it because I felt as if I had moved to a different place, which was full of images of my fantasy, and library transferred me into my fantastic world” – childhood memories of a 36-years-old woman from Ganja.

“As parents, the most important thing we can do is read to our children early and often. Reading is the path to success in school and life. When children learn to love books, they learn to love learning.” – Laura Bush.


I have always carried this notion that in a modern world it is strange to find someone who is not familiar with the reading process and does not understand the importance of reading to grow intellectually. Most of us read without thinking about its’ importance. We read books, newspapers, journals, and online articles, advertisements just because we are used to it, and because it’s a part of our life.  For some of us, we cannot imagine our lives without the letters and written texts. But is reading important only for those who study at schools and universities? Is reading essential only for learning purposes?

In order to find out what children and adults think about the purposes of reading, we conducted a short study asking the question: “Why do you like reading?”  We asked students from 5 to 16 years old and got many interesting responses.  So, here are some of the selected answers to our question from the students of school N 23:

“When we read, we can find information about everything in the world”.

“Reading for me is an adventure”.

“I like reading because it refreshes my brain. I learn new words.”

“It is very interesting, I gain new experience when I read books.”

“Books help us to travel around the world”.

“Books can help us to learn about new countries.”

“When we read, we improve our knowledge and ability to think and judge.”

“When I read, many ideas come to my mind, I like fantasy, science fiction and books about animals”.

“I like reading, it helps me to learn other languages”.

So, based on the responses of the students, we can conclude that young people see reading as an important act of learning, interacting, creating and growing. Reading is relevant to the experiences of teenagers. And to keep this practice, adult have to adapt to the mindset of young people and this can be done through books.

In order to broaden the knowledge on learning through reading, here is an interesting material that was compiled.

If you would like to further explore how the state of reading in the 21st century, we recommend you to learn how libraries in digital era work, how they change in order to attract people. Let’s have a look at two interesting libraries in the UK and Norway.


Some keywords to remember: notion, conclude, interact, relevant, mindset, broaden, compile, digital, era, interesting, residential, excerpt, snuggle, stay-over, retire, browse, access, wheel, cozy, margin, range, informal, distribute

Gladstone’s Library

The first library that we would like you to visit is the one located in the United Kingdom, in Hawarden, Wales. Gladstone’s Library is in the United Kingdom’s only residential library where visitors can sleep among the books. Below is an excerpt of information from the Gladstone’s Library official website.

“After browsing the more than 150,000 items in its collection and spending the day snuggled on top of the plush chairs, stayover guests can retire to one of the 26 boutique bedrooms on site. Guests have access to the reading rooms until 10 p.m., a full five hours after the library is close to the public. They can even bring a book back to their room with them) for a bit of bedside reading (except for those in the Gladstone Foundation Collection. The library houses the collection of its founder, former four-time Prime Minister William Ewart Gladstone, who wanted to ensure his 32,000 books remained in Wales after his death instead of going to Oxford or somewhere in London. He particularly wanted to make sure those who were less financially fortunate had access to his collection. While in his eighties, Gladstone himself (with the help of his valet and one of his daughters) wheeled over 20,000 of his books to the library that would become their new home. He then stocked the shelves using his own catalogue system. Many of the pages of his thousands of books, which are available for visitors to browse, contain his thoughts and annotations scrawled in the margins. After his death, Gladstone’s family continued to turn his vision of transforming his personal collection into something the public could enjoy into reality. The residential wing opened in 1906, and guest have been cozying up among the books in the century since”.



Library for children ONLY in Oslo, Norway

In Oslo, capital of Norway, there is a library that is said to challenge and break all the library rules, because it is designed for 10-15 years old children. Biblo Tøyen library’s space is designed in a very informal way and offers a range of activities for children’s after-school time and project works.


The intention of the design team was to rethink and redesign the library space, so that it is interesting and useful for children living in a digital era. The design team held focus groups with young people to find out their wants and needs. The children said they wanted a place to hang out, relax, and escape parents and siblings. In addition, they needed a safe place to socialize and said it should be a space where they can create and do things together. The library has achieved these goals by creating a cool and comfortable ‘third’ space between school and home where children can learn, explore, and be themselves. Adults that work in the library want to motivate and instill a love of reading and learning in young people through fun and educational activities such as drama, music, cooking, computer programming, 3-d printing, and Lego building.

In the center of the library is an old Volvo truck, nicknamed Teddy, equipped with a functional kitchen in the back and a sofa in the hood. Visitors can read while lounging in a wheelbarrow, work on homework inside a converted tuk-tuk, or discuss group projects in an old ski gondola hanging from the ceiling. In 2016 the library was planning to introduce a new ‘book drone system’. It is needed because books have no permanent location. All books have radio tags on their covers and every night a drone would fly over the bookshelves to scan and locate each book for easy access the next day. Library cards have microchips so check-out is quick and simple. This is how modern technologies make it easy for people and books to meet and live together! The entire library embodies and encourages creativity and imagination. 


Watch the video about the Biblo Tøyen and learn more:



Class activities:

Learn antonyms and synonyms, starting with some of the words identified in the vocabulary, examples, digital, informal, interesting, relevant, access

Besides modern buildings and creative services that libraries offer, there are interesting projects that push libraries out of the closed spaces and models based on “coming, borrowing and returning” approach and look for more open and flexible models making space for the communities inside the communities. As an example we can show you The Book Stop Project in Philippines. The Book Stop Project selected various public spaces throughout the city that has many pedestrians and organized distribution points for old books, allowing the open and free sharing of ideas from one person to another. The mobility of the distribution points allows it to be placed in the remote underserved areas and to reach more people. The points move from one neighborhood to another and responding to local issues and creates a platform for discussion and development in the communities.

You can learn more about modern libraries around the world by going to the link below:

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