Nal'ibali: Making the most out of storytime

What do you think will happen next?  (Jose Luis Pelaez Inc/Getty Images)
What do you think will happen next? (Jose Luis Pelaez Inc/Getty Images)

Teaching your children to read and to love reading is a valuable investment in their education. 

This series of family-literacy articles is provided by the Nal’ibali reading-for-enjoyment campaign to support caregivers during and after the national lockdown.

Do you enjoy reading with your children, and want to make sure that they benefit as much as possible from the experience?

Here are some ideas that will enrich the time you spend together reading and sharing books. Some of the ideas are suitable for all ages, and some are better for older children.

Choose the ones that you think will be best for your children. 

Before you begin

Spend time looking at the information and illustrations on the front cover.

Ask your children to guess what the book is about. Afterwards, ask them to think about their guesses and how close they were.

With older children, you can try reading the blurb on the back cover. These activities help children learn that they can use the information on the front and back covers to decide whether or not the book is to their liking.

As you read

Help develop your children’s prediction skills by asking, ‘what do you think will happen next?’.  

Ask your children to comment on the illustrations or to find particular people or objects in the pictures.

If your children can already read, take turns in reading different parts of the story. Encourage younger children to join in with pretend-reading or reciting parts of stories that they know well.

How to make the most out of storytime

With younger children, sing a song or say a rhyme linked to the content of the story. 

Invite your little one to draw a picture of the part of the story that they liked the most.

Older children often enjoy finding out more about the author or where the story is set. Let them search on the internet or in non-fiction books for this information.

Ask older children what they liked about the book and if there is anything they would change about it if they could or encourage them to draw a map of where the story is set.

Remember that reading is meant to be enjoyable! Never force unwilling children and try to be as encouraging as possible.

For more information about the Nal’ibali campaign, or to access children’s stories in a range of South African languages, visit

You can also sign up for free reading-for-enjoyment training though Nal’ibali’s FUNda Sonke loyalty programme at

Find more beautiful local stories here

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