Oaky empowers 100k to read

Roscoe Williams hands over books to a Grade 2 class.PHOTOS: Samantha lee
Roscoe Williams hands over books to a Grade 2 class.PHOTOS: Samantha lee

A local organisation’s efforts to improve literacy and reading have impacted thousands of lives.

This as Read to Rise celebrated the handover of their 100 000th Oaky book of their series­.

The series, consisting of Oaky and the Sun, Oaky the Brave Acorn and Oaky the Happy Tree, will soon add a fourth book, Oaky Runs a Race, to the series, which is set to be launched by Mitchell’s Plain-born author and poet Athol Williams, who is co-founder and chairperson of the organisation.

The series centres around an acorn named Oaky and chronicles the different stages of development as the acorn becomes a large oak tree.

The books are meant to inspire imagination and promote healthy development through the promotion of reading and improved literacy.

The books are aimed at Grade 2 and 3 learners at 45 Mitchell’s Plain schools, with distribution of the books also recently being extended to Johannesburg and Soweto.

To mark their 100 000th book, the school continued their distribution of books at Cascade Primary School on Thursday. The children also received a welcome visit from Oaky.

Programme manager Roscoe Williams and his team visited the school’s Grade 2 and 3 learners, handing over Oaky the Brave Acorn to Grade 2 learners and Oaky the Happy Tree to Grade 3 learners.

Roscoe says the organisation will also be celebrating its fifth anniversary in September­.

“The 100 000 distribution includes the Soweto and Johannesburg distribution and excludes the mini libraries. We have libraries at all but 10 of the 45 Mitchell’s Plain primary schools,” says Roscoe.

They are in the process of procuring funds and resources to supply to these schools as well.

The books are written by Athol and illustrated by Taryn Lock, co-founder and executive director of Read to Rise.

The organisation reached this milestone in a short period of time, after marking their 18 000th book handover late in 2016 (“Growing a generation that ‘aspires to more’”, People’s Post, 30 August 2016).

Read to Rise believes in promoting youth literacy in schools in underresourced communities­.

As the name indicates, the organisation firmly believes that children need to read in order to rise in their personal development and contribution to society.

Promoting literacy is part of growing a generation that will aspire to be more, Roscoe and Athol believe, and this was the inspiration behind the organisation.

Each child gets to take the book home with them to keep. The books are sponsored by business donations and are covered in plastic by volunteers.

The children read together at the handover and are taught the “correct way to turn the page”.

V If you would like to donate to the cause or assist in any way, or for more information, visit www.­readtorise.co.za.

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