Read to your children today

 Blob xDuring World Read Aloud Day in 2015, the Nal’ibali story reached the ears of nearly 166 000 children thanks to the efforts of parents and caregivers who took part. (Image: Nal’ibali)

The Nal’ibali national reading-for-enjoyment campaign invites people from across the country to enjoy their story during this year’s World Read Aloud Day on Wednesday, 24 February.

Reading out loud to your children is an important part of developing a young child’s understanding of language and this, coupled with a story that appeals to the child, can develop and reinforce a love of reading.

To mark the day, the Nal’ibali campaign has issued a brand-new story for the enjoyment of adults and children throughout the country. It calls on parents and caregivers to read its new story out loud to the children in their care.

This year the campaign has also called on the help of celebrated South African musician Yvonne Chaka Chaka to lend her support in making this year’s campaign a success.

The Princess of Africa, as the singer is known, will be giving her own special reading in isiZulu to children at Orlando Stadium in Soweto together with players from the Orlando Pirates Football Club. The footballers will also launch their own reading club, the Orlando Pirates Reading Stars.

Blob 3This year the campaign has also called on the help of celebrated South African musician Yvonne Chaka Chaka to lend her support in making this year’s campaign a success.

A READING NATION

During World Read Aloud Day in 2015, the Nal’ibali story reached the ears of nearly 166 000 children thanks to the efforts of parents and caregivers who took part.

“If we want our children to grow up as strong and powerful readers, we must demonstrate reading for them,” said Jade Jacobsohn, the managing director of Nal’ibali.

“When you read aloud to a child, you show them what reading looks like and how to make sense of text. Exposing them to new words and expressions used in stories helps to develop their vocabularies and provides a rich pool of language for children to draw from when they want to read and write on their own.”

Carole Bloch, the executive director of Praesa, the Project for the Study of Alternative Education South Africa, said that the power of reading out loud was enriching for parents and children. It was a way of establishing foundational knowledge and motivating young children as they learned to read.

Praesa was one of the bodies most heavily involved in the establishment of the Nal’ibali campaign as a co-founder and major contributor to the successes of the campaign.

To boost the number of children who benefited from the event in 2015, the campaign sought the input of other organisations, such as partners Rotary District 9350, Western Cape; Love Life Nongoma; the Family Literacy Project and Zisize Ingwavuma Educational Trust in KwaZulu-Natal; and the Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal departments of education.

As a collective, these organisations have pledged to read to as many as 100 000 children across the country.

Now, Nal’ibali is calling on teachers, librarians, parents and grandparents, caregivers, reading club leaders and fellow literacy organisations to do the same.

“Last year through a huge and wonderful celebration we created something very special: a joyful reading of the same story in 11 different languages to children across South Africa,” said Bloch.

“There are over 17 000 000 children in South Africa with only around 5% being read to by their caregivers. World Read Aloud Day celebrates the joy of sharing a good story and we hope that even more adults in South Africa will join us this year.”

GET READING OUT LOUD

This year’s story is entitled Neo and the Big Wide World, and is written by Vianne Venter. It is available for free for download on Nal’ibali’s website and mobile site.

It has been translated into all 11 official South African languages as well as Braille and South African Sign Language to make sure everybody can enjoy the story in their preferred language.

Members of the public are encouraged to sign up via either one of these sites and share how many children they will be reading to and add it to the national tally.

PLAY YOUR PART

Are you playing your part in developing South Africa and its citizens? If so, submit your story or video to our website and let us know what you are doing to improve the country for all.