Student and young people are reading less nowadays. Most of them read textbooks and notes and spend time on smartphone or tablet browsing the internet. It is slowly leaving an adverse effect on their mental faculty---the central system responsible for expanding the horizon of knowledge, thinking critically, communicating in a better way and concentrating on creativity.
There are many reasons for moving away from reading habits in Bangladesh, particularly on the part of the youth. Instead of encouraging reading for pleasure, there is a pressure on many of them to read for tests and different competitive examinations only. Reading turns out boring when it gives youth a feeling of studying for any exam or something that is compulsive. It is essential to help understand them that reading is not an obligation rather, it is an exercise for the brain to enjoy.
Reading is also a leisurely activity, and so there is no need to look for any target-oriented learning material. One needs to pick what their heart craves for--- be it a romantic novel, science fiction or poetry. Even reading a sports or entertainment magazine may be there. Without reading so-called light books and magazines, one can't become a serious reader in future. Many of today's serious readers in this country developed their strong reading habit starting with the Masud Rana spy-thriller series, written by Qazi Anwar Hussain or Himu series written by Humayun Ahmed.
Parents and senior family members also need to read books to set an example for children and youths. Family is the first place to develop the reading habit. The role of school is also critical. Sadly, most schools have largely failed to promote and encourage reading among students. Most of the teachers themselves don't read and cannot guide students to read good books, journals and magazines. The situation is also not good in universities where serious reading is necessary. Many university teachers are busy with politics and consultancy and have little time to devote themselves to serious reading. Thus, they are also not able to inspire students to do so.
Still, some people love to read, and many of them are trying to promote reading habit in society. For instance, reading club trust, an initiative of a group of enthusiastic people in Dhaka, actively promotes serious reading habit among university students. Formally started in 2011, the club has also been organising a weekly public lecture to shed lights on various topics. The club has some 22,000-word suggested reading materials for those who want to join there. Reading at least 200 pages or for at least three hours a day is necessary. This kind of binding helps a reader acquire some knowledge and understanding of national and global importance issues from Bangladesh's perspective.
There are some other initiatives across the country, which are necessary when the exam-oriented distorted education system has made millions of students' lives stressful. The multiple options of entertainments and leisure activities also distract the youth away from reading. Thus, it is a big challenge to promote a reading habit among the youth.