Nal’ibali, the national reading-for-enjoyment campaign, is calling on the nation to help them pass on the power of stories and set a read-aloud record this World Read Aloud Day, 24 February 2016. Highlighting the importance of reading aloud in children’s literacy development, the campaign has issued a brand new story and is asking adults across the country to join them in reading it out loud on the same day to the children in their lives.
Last year, with the support of hundreds of South Africans, Nal’ibali read aloud to over 166 000 children and this year it hopes to double or even triple that number. People can sign up online to join the nationwide initiative.
“If we want our children to grow up as strong and powerful readers, we must demonstrate reading for them. When you read aloud to a child, you show them what reading looks like and how to make sense of text. Exposing them to new words and expressions used in stories helps to develop their vocabularies and provides a rich pool of language for children to draw from when they want to read and write on their own,” explains Jade Jacobsohn, Managing Director of Nal’ibali.
“The power of reading aloud to children is incredible. Not only is it richly rewarding and enjoyable for any age, it is also the way we establish the foundational, knowledge and motivation young children need as they are learning to read – and indeed for all learning,” adds Carole Bloch, Executive Director of PRAESA (the Project for the Study of Alternative Education), a co-founder of and contributor to the Nal’ibali campaign.
Helping them to reach this audacious goal are partners Rotary District 9350, Western Cape; love Life Nongoma; the Family Literacy Project and Zisize Ingwavuma Educational Trust in KwaZulu-Natal; and the Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal Departments of Education, which collectively have pledged to read to close to 100 000 children.
These partners are joined by an additional 86 supporting partners that have promised to share the special story with adults in their networks to read aloud to children on the day (a full list of supporting partners is available on the Nal’ibali website). Now, Nal’ibali is calling on teachers, librarians, parents and grandparents, caregivers, reading club leaders, and fellow literacy organisations to do the same.
“Last year through a huge and wonderful celebration we created something very special: a joyful reading of the same story in 11 different languages to children across South Africa. We received pictures of read aloud sessions at homes, at schools, in rural villages and in urban setting; from big groups of children to small ones, we were delighted by them all.
There are over 17 000 000 children in South Africa with only around 5% being read to by their caregivers. World Read Aloud Day celebrates the joy of sharing a good story and we hope that even more adults in South Africa will join us this year. Then let’s grow that 5% to 50% by continuing to explore books and stories throughout the year,” concludes Bloch.
How to get involved
This year’s special story, Neo and the Big Wide World by Vianne Venter and illustrated by Rico, is freely available for download from Nal’ibali’s web and mobisites. Members of the public can also sign up on these sites to share how many children they will be reading to.
Available in all 11 official languages, the story is being offered in a further two languages through partners Blind SA and Sign Language Education and Development (SLED). Blind SA will be publishing it in Braille in the February edition of its youth magazine and SLED has collaborated with Story Bosso runners up, Kerrin Kokot and Jayne Batzofin, to produce a signed video of the story which can be viewed on the Nal’ibali website.
The story will also appear in a commemorative edition of the campaign’s reading-for-enjoyment supplement produced in partnership with PRAESA and media partner, Times Media.
2016 Ambassador and celebrity support
Raising her voice to read aloud and encourage fellow South Africans to join her, is singer-songwriter and humanitarian, Yvonne Chaka Chaka. The Princess of Africa will be giving her own special reading in isiZulu to children at Orlando Stadium in Soweto together with players from the Orlando Pirates Football Club as the club launches their own reading club, the Orlando Pirates Reading Stars.
Pledging partners, Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal Departments of Basic Education, have also taken up the day to launch Nal’ibali reading clubs at schools in their provinces. And, making surprise appearances at read aloud events in Gauteng, the Western Cape, Limpopo, KwaZulu-Natal, the Eastern Cape and the Free State, are Nal’ibali characters mascots Bella, Noodle, Gogo, Africa, and the main character in this year’s story, Neo, and his father.
Sharing the story and taking up the challenge
Sharing the news of the drive and reading the story on air to a collective listenership of over 2.3 million is SABC Education and Public Broadcast Stations Phalaphala FM, RSG, Munghana Lonene FM, Ligwalagwala FM, SA FM, Ikwekwezi FM, Umhlobo Wenene FM, Lesedi FM, Motsweding FM, X-K FM, Thobela FM and Ukhozi FM.
Digital partners, global NGO, World Reader, and mobi-based SA Literacy Trust, FundZa, will be offering the story to readers on their digital networks. While, on the ground, The Library and Information Association of South Africa (LIASA), will be sharing the story and details of the drive with their ten branches and interest groups in all nine provinces. Mobile operator, Vodacom, will be offering the stories to their users to download free of data charges from the Mobile Education Programme Digital Classroom website and 14 Vodacom Teacher Centres are joining the day’s reading. In addition, champions from Vodacom’s volunteer programme will hold read aloud sessions in seven different provinces.
Finally, corporate partner, Ackermans, will be distributing the story to their staff reaching over 6 000 adults, and Bargain Books will be sharing news of the drive through their newsletters, reaching over 100 000 subscribers. Further, the bookseller will be distributing special World Read Aloud Day story cards to customers in its Centurion, Heidelberg, Richards Bay, Welkom and Willowbridge stores. And, for those who sign up to read aloud, it is providing book hampers for four lucky winners to the value of R1 000 each.