Literacy project benefits schools

2017-02-23 06:00
TV-presenter and KFM radio DJ Liezel van der Westhuizen listens attentively to learners from the Ummangaliso Primary school while they read aloud to her on World Read Aloud DAY (WRAD), The participation by South African celebrities and Cape Town were part of a South African campaign initiated by WeCan24 and Nal’ibali to improve early literacy. Globally, 793 million people are illiterate.

TV-presenter and KFM radio DJ Liezel van der Westhuizen listens attentively to learners from the Ummangaliso Primary school while they read aloud to her on World Read Aloud DAY (WRAD), The participation by South African celebrities and Cape Town were part of a South African campaign initiated by WeCan24 and Nal’ibali to improve early literacy. Globally, 793 million people are illiterate.

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A host of radio- and TV-celebrities joined WeCan24 and Nal’ibali on World Read Aloud Day, 16th February, with two Khayelitsha schools and the Pioneer school for visually impaired children as part of an inclusive national initiative to advance early literacy skills for learners and create the awareness of the importance of reading.

Sechaba G, mid-morning host of KFM, presented a program devoted to encouraging learners to read aloud and Precious Cekala, a learner from Pioneer school, read a story in braille on the programme.

Katlego Maboe, presenter on the Expresso Breakfast Show, told learners from the Ummangaliso Primary School and Joe Slovo secondary school, both in Khayelitsha, that he was inspired from childhood to read.

It helped him to gain knowledge and understanding. Reading from a tele-computer is a requirement in order to present the news on TV, he added.

He and Andy Maqondwana of KFM read a story in Xhosa and English to the audience of learners.

Adrie Jurgensen, group manager of Media24’s community projects and project manager of Media24, said the participation of more than 100 learners on Nasdak in the initiative in the Cape, co-presented by Nal’ibali and WeCan24, was an unqualified success.

“It also demonstrated our commitment to inclusivity, as learners from the Pioneer school who are partially sighted or blind, interviewed celebrities at the event and will create news articles digitally on WeCan24’s on-line platform.

“We have enlisted 250 schools since our inception in 2015 to equip them with journalistic skills and to enhance their social media and digital skills. That list of schools could soon increase to more than 700. But part and partial of our aim is to create a generation of citizen journalists and to broaden and deepen our culture of reading throughout South Africa,” she said.

Troy Martens, from the Department of Basic Education,, said according to the statistics, South Africa doesn’t have a culture of reading.

Only 14 % of South Africans read books and only 5 % of parents read to their children.

More than 80 % of South Africans are classified as non-readers, while more than 10 % are classified as basic readers.

Just more than 5 % are classified as advanced readers, she said.

Jurgensen said WeCan24, the flagship educational initiative of Media24, and Nal’ibali, a national reading-for-enjoyment campaign sparking children’s potential through storytelling and reading, are committed to reach every corner of South Africa to unlock the educational potential of every child.

“Every child, whether challenged by poverty or physical disabilities is included in our outreach because we yearn for the self-actualization of all South African learners,” she added.

Dr Suna Verhoef, teacher in Afrikaans at Pioneer school, said the exorbitant prizes of converting books into material that is braille-inclusive, is one of the biggest challenges for partially sighted children in South Africa.

“Books translated into braille are not readily available to the visually impaired.”

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