Celebrating the love of reading

2018-09-13 06:00
PHOTOs: andile sitholeGrade 7 pupils from Victoria Primary School (from left) Samkelisiwe Mzobe, Sbongumusa Vilakazi, Tyleece Naidoo and Samkelisiwe Ngiba celebrate National Book Week.

PHOTOs: andile sitholeGrade 7 pupils from Victoria Primary School (from left) Samkelisiwe Mzobe, Sbongumusa Vilakazi, Tyleece Naidoo and Samkelisiwe Ngiba celebrate National Book Week.

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THE culture of reading and writing at primary school levels should be promoted in all schools in order to eradicate illiteracy in the country.

This is according to the principal of Victoria Primary School, Lajeeth Maharaj, who was speaking about National Book Week, which runs from September 3 to 9.

“If we are serious about improving the results of our pupils in high schools, we need to start at primary school and lay a strong foundation. If we inculcate a love and passion for reading in primary schools it will have a positive impact on the performance of pupils in high schools,” Maharaj said.

Maharaj said that reading is the key that opens the door to real learning.

“More importantly, reading with understanding and comprehension must become a priority in all our primary schools. Reading must become a fun activity with pupils looking forward to it. Once it becomes boring, pupils will become disinterested,” he added.

Maharaj said school libraries have a huge role to play in becoming the nerve centre of learning.

He added: “Fortunately, at Victoria Primary our library is fully functional with a full-time team of librarians in attendance.”

The South African Book Development Council (SABDC), which is a government initiative that aims to promote a culture of reading and writing, has embarked on a nationwide tour to highlight that “South Africans can be the authors of their own stories”.

The campaign will run in all nine provinces.

Chief executive officer of SABDC, Elitha van der Sandt, said in a statement: “An interest in reading is often catalysed by a personal experience of storytelling. Storytelling is therefore one of the most important gateways into reading,” Van der Sandt said.

This year marks the ninth National Book Week in association with Department of Arts and Culture. The theme for this year’s event is #Ourstories, which is intended to highlight not only the fact that storytelling is deeply ingrained in African culture, but that South Africans can, and should, be the authors of their own stories.

According to the SABDC, 58% of South African households have no leisure reading books.

“National Book Week is also used as a platform to promote books written and published in indigenous languages, which is fundamental to the SABDC’s mission of encouraging the development of a reading culture in South Africa.

“This ties into and continues the tradition of intergenerational storytelling on which the #Ourstories theme is based,” Van der Sandt added.

Billy Nair circuit manager Selvan Chetty said: “As the Department of Education, we have given particular attention to the programme of reading in schools.

“One of the challenges that pupils face is that there are not enough good examples of role models as far as reading is concerned.”

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