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Literacy Blog

Translation to turbo-charge stories

Posted on
October, 22nd 2015
Many years ago, the influential children’s literacy scholar Margaret Spencer Meek remarked, “Every child needs three books at the same time ‒ one that they can read whatever happens, one they are reading at the moment, and one they’re just about able to read. The first the child reads, the second you help them to read and the third, you read to him or...
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Barbara Comber is a Research Professor in the Faculty of Education at Queensland University of Technology in Brisbane, Australia. She is particularly interested in literacy education and social justice and recently visited South Africa, further sharing her work on the topic: Sharing stories of one kind or another with the next generation is something intrinsic to everyday life in most communities. Listening to parents and...
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We are the stories we tell

Posted on
October, 19th 2015
Sindiwe Magona, an accomplished South African writer, literary activist and retired teacher, is a judge in Nal’ibali’s storytelling competition being run this September and will help crown South Africa’s first ‘Story Bosso’. Sindiwe, who has grown up on stories, feels that our identity is inseparable from the stories we tell: In traditional societies, stories were an integral part of the socialisation of the child. They were...
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Alinah Segobye is an academic, writer, storyteller and futurist. She holds an honorary professorship at the Thabo Mbeki African Leadership Institute and is the former Deputy Executive Director at the Human Sciences Research Council in South Africa. Alinah explores the role of technology in developing a reading culture in Africa: How did the first rock-art artist get inspired? Was it a young doodler sent to...
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Celebrating elders as storytellers

Posted on
October, 16th 2015
As Africans, we have a deep history of storytelling and one that is in danger of being left behind as we move into an increasingly digital way of life. To celebrate the power of storytelling, Nal’ibali, the national reading-for-enjoyment campaign, recently ran a countrywide storytelling talent search, Story Bosso. In the process of inviting all South Africans, young and old, to share their stories,...
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Thabiso Mahlape is a publisher with Jacana. She recently launched a new book imprint, BlackBird Books, which seeks to provide a platform and publishing home to both new voices and the existing generation of black writers and narratives. Thabiso believes that relevant South African stories are the key to a culture of reading: When I was about five or six, I didn’t know about books, about reading for...
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Why stories are not just for bedtime

Posted on
October, 13th 2015
Do you read to your children regularly? Many parents who read to their children do this as part of their children’s bedtime routine. They cuddle up to their children and read a story or two before it’s time for their children to drift off to dreamland. Bedtime stories are an easy way of helping your children to relax at the end of a busy...
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Nal'ibali's Storyplay Co-ordinator, Nadia Lubowski, travelled to KwaZulu-Natal to train and support ECD practitioners in their implementation of the Storyplay approach. In this piece, she relays her personal and professional experience in helping spread the power of stories: We had been driving since 7am, we had visited six early childhood development (ECD) sites by mid-afternoon. My thoughts were meandering between endless questions and absorbing and experiencing...
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The dangers of the single story

Posted on
August, 25th 2015
Catherine Kell, Associate Professor of Linguistics specialising in literary studies at the University of the Western Cape, speaks to us about the danger of the single story and necessity of different narratives: A group of lees-mammies (reading-mommies) talked to me about story-telling in their lives when they were young children growing up on wine farms in the Western Cape where their parents worked as labourers....
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Omphile is a 13-year-old Grade 7 learner at Prinshof School for blind and visually imapired children. She has congenital glaucoma and therefore has limited eyesight. Omphile has always enjoyed reading – perhaps because everyone else in her family reads – and would like to encourage adults and older caregivers to help other blind or visually imapired children experience the joy she has found in...
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