On March 5, 2014, the Nal’ibali reading-for-enjoyment campaign celebrated World Read Aloud Day by inviting all adults in South Africa to read aloud the same story on the same day. The drive was not only an opportunity to raise awareness about the importance of reading aloud to grow children’s literacy skills, but also a chance to release another story as part of the campaign’s objective to supply and connect people with a range of appropriate material for children in their home languages.
We also wanted to see if we could break our previous read-aloud record… In 2013, caregivers in SA read aloud to 13 401 children through the campaign’s annual World Read Aloud Day drive. This year, caregivers signed up to read aloud from far and wide – some even as far afield as Burkina Faso and Georgia, USA – helping us to break last year’s record. We are excited to announce that, collectively, South Africans were proud to read aloud to47 902 children!
Reading and hearing stories in your own language is certainly the most satisfying ways to experience them – and this year we were able to offer a new World Read Aloud Day story in all 11 official languages. The children’s story, a traditional isiZulu tale retold by Wendy Hartmann, provided the ideal story for the day, as it describes how stories began – all those years ago. If you’d like to read it again, or in another language, you can find the story here.
Or perhaps you’d like to listen to the story? To help us share the magic of the story online, and in a variety of languages, a number of Nal’ibali friends read the story out loud for children and their families to enjoy. Readers included Zolani Mahola of Freshlyground, Nobuhle Mngcwengi from Xhosa Fundis and Nal’ibali’s very own Cluster Mentors, who each told a part of the story in a different language to weave a magical multilingual online story tapestry. Visit the Nal’ibali YouTube channel or watch the video at the bottom of this page to view the clips and add to your range of literacy resources.
To further bring the story to life, a few lucky children in Cape Town, including members from the Young Authors Club – an Athlone-based reading club that is part of the Nal’ibali network of clubs – were treated to a special reading by the author herself at the Cape Town Central Library. The library went one step further in support of the drive by calling on other libraries and librarians in their network and, in total, another 444 children enjoyed the story in Western Cape libraries on the same day.
But, these weren’t the only children who enjoyed having the story read aloud to them on March 5. Nal’ibali Cluster Mentors organised read-aloud events at schools, early childhood development centres, libraries and reading clubs in the six provinces where they operate, namely: KwaZulu-Natal, the Eastern Cape, the Western Cape, Gauteng, the Free State and Limpopo. Together, they shared the story with over 25 000 children, who were given their own copies of the story to take home with them!
We know that their achievements were made possible by the support of the communities they work with and we’d like to thank the organisations and individuals who support Nal’ibali reading clubs, such as the Nongoma Library in KwaZulu-Natal, whose librarians went the extra mile to ensure that the children in their community all had copies of the story to read. The Family Literacy Project also ensured 1134 children were read aloud to in rural KZN on the day, distributing isiZulu versions of the story for all to enjoy. In the Western Cape, members of Rotary District 9350 read aloud to 4500 children, and volunteers from the Kidz2Kidz Trust shared the story with 556 children.
Backed by partners
With a focus on collaboration to tackle the literacy crisis in SA, Nal’ibali is fortunate to have the support of local, regional and corporate partners, all helping to connect children and caregivers to books and stories in a range of languages. This year, The Principals Academy, and the National Professional Teacher’s Organisation of South Africa (NAPTOSA) all came on board to share the story with their networks.
They were joined by Nal’ibali media partners, Sowetan LIVE and Jet Club, as well as Kagiso Media’s Howsit MSN portal. SABC Education shared the story over the airwaves in Afrikaans, English, isiVenda, isiTswana, isiSwati and isiTsonga on X-K FM, SAfm, Phalaphala FM, Motsweding FM, Ligwalagwala FM and Munghana Lonene FM.
In addition, local partner FunDza, offered the story in all 11 languages to its followers on Mxit. Whilst WorldReader shared the story with its audiences throughout the developing world by making sure users with low-end phones could access it. To date, the story has been ranked 41 out of 3000.