27 May 2024

Reading increases knowledge and wisdom. All adults around the world are probably well aware of this fact, but how can we motivate our children to read more?

In today’s world, it seems that our children are more captivated by the internet, especially social media, than by reading books. They would binge-watch YouTube and TikTok for the whole day, if they could.

The Thai Public Broadcasting Service (Thai PBS), collaborating with the Thai Junior Encyclopedia Foundation, by His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej the Great, and Thailand Knowledge Park (TK Park), has organized a workshop, ‘Reading for Life’ at TK Park on August 9, 2022, with the purpose of encouraging children to read,.

When it comes to reading, even though traditional printed books have their charm, the majority of the new generation prefer digital versions and children in urban areas have easier access to knowledge based books than those in rural areas. “We aim to provide the value of good literature and promote more equal opportunity for all students throughout Thailand to access to knowledge based books”, said Prof. Dr. Supa Hannongbua, the representative of the Thai Junior Encyclopedia Foundation.

The data demonstrates that Thai kids aged 5-12 in the digital world share characteristics. For example, familiarity with changes, always eager to learn new things by themselves, low frustration tolerance and spending 5-12 hours a day on the internet.

“98% of kids’ use of the internet is only for entertainment. We don’t want to change their online behaviour, we would rather increase the proportion of education in the time they spend on the internet, for their own futures”, said Nuttaphong Jaruwannaphong, a deputy director general of Thai PBS.

He added that he does not expect a total change, but at least 30% will do. The main objective is not, however, about the percentage, but it is to create a learning culture, which is our big task. At the end of the day, if our children feel like they wish to get educated by themselves, it means we have met our challenges, I think.

The outcome of this workshop will be used in the development of a pilot experiment and, in the next three months, a new set of communications will be tried and tested with the target group.

Prof. Dr. Supa Hannongbua and Nuttaphong Jaruwannaphong