This year Nal’ibali, South Africa’s reading-for-enjoyment campaign, set a target to read aloud to 2 million children on World Read Aloud Day, Wednesday 5 February. Issuing a special story in all 11 official languages and calling on the support of South Africans everywhere, the campaign has announced that close to 3 million children were read to.
World Read Aloud Day is a global event to draw attention to the importance of reading aloud to children in their mother tongue. Nal’ibali leads the initiative in South Africa; raising awareness around South Africa’s literacy crisis and how caregivers – whether at home, at school or in the community – can help overcome it through the simple yet effective action of reading aloud.
Research has shown that reading aloud is a powerful way to motivate children to learn to read themselves and to keep those who can already read, reading.
Having celebrated the day for the past seven years, Nal’ibali has seen the number of children reached each year increase exponentially. Last year 1 559 730 children were read to and this year that number almost doubled at 2 925 224. Easily supported, the drive is taken up annually by citizens, celebrities, education departments, library services, and fellow NGOs who all hold special read-aloud events across the country.
Says Nal’ibali Chief Operating Officer, Katie Huston: “I’ve attended many different World Read Aloud Day events over the years and the one thing they all have in common is excitement. Children love the chance to immerse themselves in something, and they love the vibe that comes with a special day and sense of occasion.”
Huston further explained that in order to change South Africa’s reading culture, the way South Africans think and talk about reading has to change but that reaching 2 925 224 children – or one in every seven South African children – is a powerful indicator that this shift is already starting to take place. She encouraged those that took place in the drive to continue to visit the Nal’ibali website for more stories in different South African languages and to continue to share these with the children in their lives.
For more information about the Nal’ibali campaign, to sign up to be a FUNda Leader and join the FUNda Sonke loyalty programme, or to access children’s stories in a range of South African languages, visit www.nalibali.mobi. You can also find Nal’ibali on Facebook and Twitter: @nalibaliSA.