Local schools partake in World Read Aloud Day

2018-01-24 06:01
World Read Aloud Day aims to help more than 1 million children to benefit from the joy of storytelling.                Photo:SUPPLIED

World Read Aloud Day aims to help more than 1 million children to benefit from the joy of storytelling. Photo:SUPPLIED

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NAL’IBALI’S World Read Aloud Day is one of the biggest literacy drives in South Africa, reaching thousands of children and adults every year in its bid to raise awareness of the importance of reading aloud for children’s literacy development and school success.

Every year Nal’ibali celebrates World Read Aloud Day by commissioning a brand-new story and translating it into all 11 official languages, before asking South Africans to join them in reading it aloud to the children in their lives.

This year, the special story has been written by acclaimed South African author, Zukiswa Wanner.

To coincide with World Read Aloud Day, book clubs from different schools from around the Nelson Mandela Bay townships will partake in read-aloud sessions.

These sessions will be held at Hombakazi Mafini, Isaac Booi and at the Zwide Library on February, 2.

Nal’ibali’s managing director, Jade Jacobsohn, said the event, which follows the release of the results of a global literacy study revealing the true magnitude of South Africa’s literacy crisis, holds a special significance not only as a milestone for the Nal’ibali campaign, but as an opportunity for all South African adults to take action as they grapple with the news that 78% of Grade 4 children cannot read for meaning in any language.

“The campaign is calling for the nation’s support as it aims to break its read-aloud record by reaching one million children or more across the country,” Jacobsohn said.

She pointed out that reading aloud, and particularly in home languages, is one of the most important things caregivers can do for their children.

By exposing them to the sophisticated words and language not common in conversation, this simple activity helps young children, and even babies, build a strong language foundation and develop their vocabularies, he said.

He described how most children’s early school learning takes place verbally and in their mother tongues.

“Regular exposure to books and stories in home languages can provide them with an early academic boost that will see them right through their school years, sparking not only their minds and imaginations but their curiosity and emotional development too.”

Jacobsohn said by asking adults to join us in this simple and satisfying activity, and increasing their awareness of and access to stories in different South African languages, they want to show caregivers just how important their roles are in their children’s literacy development and how easy it can be.

“Reading and sharing stories at home or in the classroom has the power to uplift the country, however, it’s a practice that needs to be repeated regularly.”

Those wishing to participate in Nal’ibali’s World Read Aloud Day can visit www.nalibali.org or www.nalibali.mobi to download the official story in any official language and pledge the number of children to whom they will be reading.


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