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Reading has always informed my daily routine: not always academic or scholarly, but everything and anything which is readable. Starting with the Holy Quran in the morning, a day’s read would normally include newspaper, my children’s textbook, lesson diaries, a current fiction, art theory, instruction manual, email and Facebook, etc. Most of it is done as routine readings, and some of it as pure pleasure.
As a child, I was always supported and appreciated by my younger Chaacha 1 who has always been an avid reader. School, friends and my art practice have been great influence on my reading. Especially my art practice which is always informed through research and reading, as my teacher in art school required and encouraged reading and research to support studio work. In addition, a lot of reflective writing, about the conceptual and studio process was required to be done in the third and final year of my undergrad study. The written dissertation along with studio work ensured a lot of reading, writing and analytical thinking. Reflecting back, I might never have gotten ‘hooked’ on reading had I not done the readings I was required to do as part of the learning process in school and undergrad college.
Over the years, I have observed and realized that majority of the people do not read, simply because it is an exercise which is time consuming and requires patience. Google, digital apps, gadgets and console games have further resulted in lack of patience, resulting in lack of interest in reading, as these replace the conventional toys and absorb the attention of the young minds, providing them with the elements that books and storytelling would otherwise provide – fantasy, imagination and engagement. The result of this apathy towards reading has been a lack of query and independent thinking, leading to a degeneration of analytical and critical thinking.
The present research is a result of the deep concern I feel for the upcoming generation of children, my children, to develop a deep appreciation and respect for reading, and enjoy and engage in it for a lifetime. Since visual art, performance, reading and critical thinking all require Higher Order Thinking Skills (HOTS)2 . I would like to research and develop a practical method of integrating reading and art to inculcate a habit of reading and critical thinking in children from an early age, along with an appreciation of art and aesthetics.