There is huge potential in South Africa to turn our literacy crisis around so that reading becomes a powerful tool, to tackle inequality and poverty. As Nelson Mandela said, ‘Education is the most powerful weapon you can use to change the world.’ While education may be the most powerful weapon, reading aloud and storytelling are integral building blocks in learning.
Call to action
As the biggest literacy drive in the country, WRAD seeks to draw attention to the importance of reading aloud to children in their mother tongue. Every year, thousands of South Africans join in the celebration. They are doing it for their children, their language and their futures. This year Nal’ibali is asking those who are already readers to not only read the story commissioned for WRAD 2019 with their children on the day, but to reach out to their networks and encourage others do the same and be part of the South Africa’s literacy solution. World Read Aloud Day is being celebrated on the 1st of February.
A new story is born
Jade Jacobsohn, Nali’bali’s Managing Director, says, ‘Every year we commission a brand-new story and translate it into all 11 official SA languages. Then we encourage adults and caregivers across the country, to join us in reading it aloud to children on WRAD. This year’s story, ‘Where Are You?’ is written by Ann Walton, a well known South African author and illustrator of children’s books. ‘The story can be downloaded from our website from Monday, 21 January. We’d like to encourage South Africans to register that they will be reading aloud and to share pictures of their reading sessions online.’
Why read aloud?
Most of the teaching that happens in a child’s early years is oral. Being able to recognise and understand a wide pool of words, better equips them to learn and succeed in the classroom. ‘The reading of a story out loud not only shows children the value of books but starts discussions, builds bonds between the reader and the audience and motivates children to learn to read and enjoy books beyond their current reading ability,’ says Jacobson.
Remember to tell us you’re reading
‘Last year, with the help of our network partners and the public, we managed to read to over a million children,’ says Jacobsohn. ‘In 2019, our aim is to beat that record and reach 1.5 million!’ In order to monitor the success of WRAD, Nal’ibali asks that all participants log their reading activities on its website: https://nalibali.org/WRAD-2019
Masango will give a special multilingual reading of ‘Where Are You?’ and engage the attending children and adults about the importance of reading aloud. She says, ‘Reading to your children is important because the benefits will follow them for their entire life. Not only is it great for bonding but you are also expanding their vocabulary, their knowledge, their imaginations, their ability to focus and confidently articulate their ideas out loud. Reading is truly the gift that keeps on giving!’
Copies of her own book, ‘Mpumi’s Magic Beads’, will be given to each child to further encourage them to keep reading.
During the week of 21 January, a Nal’ibali mascot and volunteers with take to the streets within various communities to promote WRAD while handing out story cards.