Nal’ibali is built on the simple logic that a well-established culture of reading can be a real game-changer for education in South Africa. Literacy skills are a strong predictor of future academic success in all subjects – and children who regularly read and hear engaging stories, in languages they understand, are well equipped and motivated to learn to read and write. A significant body of research reinforces the link between reading for pleasure and improved outcomes for children.
The campaign values the power of language and cultural relevance in literacy development. For reasons relating to empowerment, pedagogy, identity and democracy, Nal’ibali fully promotes reading and writing in mother tongue languages. All children and adults need to understand what they are listening to, or reading, for it to be meaningful and enjoyable – which is crucial for raising readers.
The most inspiring part of promoting a reading culture in South Africa is that many parents, caregivers and community-based organisations are already reading and telling stories to their children! Nal’ibali is about recognising and respecting the power and potential of these communities in literacy development. It is also about working to build a larger community of people across the country who are interested in and passionate about storytelling, reading and writing with children. In supporting them to find more ways to root reading and writing habits in children’s daily lives, we strive to build a nation of powerful readers and storytellers.