Addressing SA's reading crisis may start with screen time

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Parents need to step up.
Parents need to step up.

The reading crises in South Africa is bad. A well-publicised 2016 Progress in International Reading Literacy (PIRLS) study found that a staggering 78% of Grade 4 children could not read for meaning in any language, and that our country scored last out of the 50 participating nations. 

President Cyril Ramaphosa has made improving this a priority, and said it was a government goal that every 10-year-old should be able to read for meaning within the next decade in his 2019 State of the Nation Address (SONA)

The stats are glum, but given the number of resources available to just about anyone with a device and data, your child won't need to wait ten years. 

Must seeReading to your kids could result in a lifetime earnings increase of R2m

Here are 3 sources of free reading materials you can access with your desktop or mobile phone. 

Nal' ibali 

Nal'ibali has been promoting a reading culture in South Africa since 2012, and the national reading-for-enjoyment campaign's free children's stories (available online) could probably fill a library.

The stories are multilingual, and some come with audio files. 

Read their stories in our Bedtime Stories hub

Book Dash 

Recognising that cost can be a hurdle for South African parents, Book Dash has made hundreds of African children's storybooks freely available.

They've done this through the help of volunteers who write, illustrate and design in 12-hour sessions. 

To download free Book Dash stories, visit our Storytime hub

Hollard InstaStoryBooks

The insurance company has teamed up with children's development initiative Kago Ya Bana in calling on South Africans to pitch book ideas via Instagram's Stories feature.

The best stories are then made available to the public at no cost. 

Learn more about the initiative or download the free stories here

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