If there is one thing secondary school students love doing, that would be reading novels. Many students may not be fond of going over their subject notes at the end of school hours, but trust me, when it comes to laying their hands on novels, they will definitely get it done. During my secondary school days, I read a lot of storybooks. While some were good and readable, some were not so commending.
Storybooks serve as a beginner’s guide to the real world; they encompass social and cultural beliefs. it is believed that every work of an author is just a figment of his/her imagination, the idea of what real life looks like or what it will look like in years to come. However, unfortunately, most books written by Nigerian authors have successfully deluded students from seeing the world as it really is, the aim has been lost, leaving them with a suboptimal standard of psychology, which in turn affects their thinking faculty.
For instance, I grew up reading storybooks that always revolved around hard work in school, patience, and obedience, leaving out a chunk of the most important parts of reality: sex, life, colonialism, money, civilization, corruption, injustice, religion, culture, slavery, technology, etc.
It is disheartening to realize that bookshelves in school libraries are constantly filled with not so bright, pathetic storybooks; storybooks that never break up with the usual stereotype, presenting the same storylines and mentality over and over again. There are a lot of writers who don’t really care about the students’ academic opulence, all they give a damn about is how to sell their books and gently pat their pockets with money in them.
Some will even force these bad projects they call storybooks on students, after liaising with headmasters and proprietors to make the purchase a compulsory one. At the end of every term, my siblings always come home with some lists of storybooks for the next term, backed up with threats of failing students who do not comply. I came across one of their storybooks once, after reading the first five pages, I shook my head and grieved on behalf of Nigerian students.
Apart from the use of very awful vocabulary, I realized I was well familiar with the dull and boring storyline in the book, I’ve read it so many times in the past, and I already knew where the story would end. The book lacked life and talent. Sometimes I wonder, in this current world we live in, with all the civilization and upgrade in the system, students are still being subjected to such horrendous psychology?
I just picked my phone and played Candy Crush instead.
I feel sorry for the kids out there because reading such books once subjected my mentality to some paltry orientations and I’m afraid it will do the same to them too.
It is high time schools did away with stereotypes and drift with the world. It is high time they started introducing books filled with great effort, storybooks with so many talents in them. Students already hanker for reading good stuff, it is up to us to make available excellent books written by great authors who really understand the art, not some books written by some authors who still live in their past, filling our students’ minds with junks, thereby tampering with their learning ability.
There are books that expound the reality of life, raising questions and challenging readers’ minds, books that raise arguments and torment readers’ curiosity, teaching them more and wanting them to know more. These are the kinds of books students should be encouraged to read.
The fact is, subjects that are difficult to teach in classes can be narrated in storybooks. Most developed countries and some African countries use this method. They believe that students comprehend faster and better when they hear or read about a particular subject in a storybook.
Written works by authors like Wole Soyinka, Chinua Achebe, Femi Osofisan, Ben Okri, Sefi Atta and so on should be recommended to students, either for them to read for pleasure or as part of their curriculum. The world has evolved beyond reading about a poor village girl who got lucky and got betrothed to some rich prince, it’s time to turn the table around and read about modern stories.