This weekend we celebrate one of the most important relationships we have – the relationship with our mothers. They are the ones who patch scraped knees and mend broken hearts. And they’re the ones who help us to take our first steps on the road to a lifetime of discovery and learning.
But how can parents break through the clutter of everyday life - including the influence of television, computers, gaming and the social media - to do this? Mothers, in particular, have a huge role to play in introducing their children to the magic of books and reading.
Research into the reading behaviour of adult South Africans, commissioned by the South African Book Development Council (SABDC) in 2016, emphasised that having as few as 20 books in the home has a significant impact on propelling a child to higher levels of education. The study went on to cite that reading is a powerful tool to tackle poverty and inequality: when children read for pleasure, it has a greater effect on their educational achievement than their family’s socio- economic status.
“Parents who read and who introduce their children to books from a very early age create a lifelong interest in reading, which is one of the greatest gifts they can give them,” says Elitha van der Sandt, Chief Executive Officer of the SABDC.
The South African Book Fair (SABF) in spring every year and it will be held in Johannesburg’s Newtown Precinct, which will offer a variety of enjoyable activities for children, learners, teachers, caregivers and parents.
This year’s Fair, which will take place from 7 to 9 September, will feature a family zone, boasting a hop on/hop off bus, magic tent, two kids’ theatre productions, a demo library and a range of interactive sessions.
Sessions for kids in Grades 5 to 7 will include fun stuff like animated discussion amongst published child authors and a number of engaging storytelling events as part of the Fair’s #OURSTORIES theme. Older learners in Grades 9 to 11 can look forward to a creative writing workshop; a workshop on storytelling techniques; a discussion on graphic novels and comics; and teen blogging.
As we celebrate Mother’s Day, we would like to encourage mothers to develop that special bond they have with their children by reading to them every day, and by fostering a lifelong love of reading.