How sports can help in developing reading habits in children.

It was 1985 and Nigeria had just won the first FIFA JVC U16 World cup and the streets of Lagos had gone agog and NTA was showing the Final match all over again and I had just been sent to a close relative’s house and the TV was on and I just caught a glimpse of the TV and that was the birth of my interest in football as a sports.
I started collecting pictures of footballers, lawn tennis players and sports articles from some Nigerian newspapers like Guardian, Vanguard and New Nigeria (now defunct). I turned my used school notebooks into sports scrap books; whilst I was doing this, something interesting started happening to me as an individual and it was only in retrospection in adulthood as an adult that I was able to appreciate what happened to me back then.

As a result of my new found interest in football I started reading newspapers from their back pages – never mind that prior to that time newspaper reading never appealed to me. The more I read my father’s newspapers collection on daily basis, the more I became more interested in finding more facts about sports in general, and football and tennis in particular.
Reading about tennis back then gave me the window of opportunity to know about faraway places like Mexico and Germany. The more I read about football stories, the more I got to know about the different continents in the world and at the same time the more I got to know about different countries around the world, and at the local level, I became more aware of the different parts of Nigeria. 
The main impact reading all those sports stories had on me was that – I was able to develop a reading habit; improve on my reading and comprehension skills – without going through the ‘pains’ of reading books or writing book reports as home work. As time went by, I started listening to BBC Sports to satisfy my curiosity and interest in sports and that really helped me in developing my listening and speaking skills without going through the pains – once again! – of classroom or homework drills on speaking and listening.
Perhaps, if we consider the fact that most children have keen interest in sports and sport personalities; we will be able to tap into these windows of opportunities to encourage and develop reading culture amongst them.
What do you think?
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  1. Yes, sports can no doubt improve reading skill and general performance of children.
    Take the 'cane and carrot' approach for instance, i love sport and I don't want to be pinished – so I need to do my homework, score good grades before Daddy can buy me kits.
    But it should be a managed and supervised program either by a coach, mentor, guardian or the parents themselves. If not properly monitored, it would become counter-productive. As a matter of fact, we are presently at disadvantage with respect to that because the over celebration of the sports and entertainment icons has diverted the focus of students and all they want to do now is to sing or play football.

    Well-done Sir, I'm also an advocate of the use of sport, games, competition and other extra-curricula activities (even films) to enhance/promote learning.

  2. It will be nice if policy makers and educators can use sports in promoting reading among children. The idea is not to promote sports as an end in itself – professionalism – but to use it as a means to multiple ends like: team working, physical fitness…and in the case of this post, as a means to develop and encourage reading habits amongst children.
    Thanks for visiting my site and the comment.

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