Children's literature, their books and reading interests : a study in primary schools in Bahrain
The purpose of this study is to assess the provision and quality of children’s literature and books presented to Bahraini children of ages 6-12 at their homes, schools, public libraries and bookshops; to explore the values of children's literature and books and the effects they might have on children's lives; to identify children's preferences with respect to literature and related books in Bahrain; and to provide evidence and guidance to the appropriate authorities so that more informed decisions might be made concerning the provision of children’s literature and their books in Bahrain. To achieve these objectives, a quantitative and qualitative survey style research approach was adopted to collect information from people responsible for the provision of children's literature and those who are best acquainted with children's reading interests. Information was gathered from teachers, librarians, parents and authors and, through questionnaires and semi-structured interviews, from primary aged children. From the findings of this study it was concluded that:• There was a serious deficiency in the provision of good and suitable children's literature and books in Bahrain in general and in the primary schools in particular.• Inadequacy of children's literature and related books in terms of quantity and quality has caused significant retardation in the development of Bahraini children's literary education and in meeting their reading needs and interests.• There were differences in the reading habits of male and female children in Bahrain. It was also concluded from the literature review that children’s literature and books have great value in children's lives in addition to their significant contribution to children's educational, language, cognitive, personal and social development. In the light of these conclusions, clear recommendations were offered as to the way ahead for future developments in: • The provision of children's literature and books in Bahrain• The provision of library services to children in Bahrain• The production and publishing of children's books in Bahrain• School environment and adults' role in encouraging children’s reading interests General recommendations with an objective to develop children’s literature and books in the Arab world were also presented. It is hoped that the findings and the implications of this study will contribute towards the development of children's literature and their books in Bahrain and towards improving educational practice in primary schools of Bahrain by use of literature-based programmes and teaching methods.