Helping parents establish a regular reading routine with their children, and renewing their own commitment to root a culture of reading in South Africa, Nal’ibali, the national reading-for-enjoyment campaign, has issued its 2016 Story Power Promise.
Designed as a commitment pledge for both parents and children to sign, the promise outlines commitments made by the campaign to help parents and caregivers across the country establish reading habits with the children in their lives. It also includes corresponding promises for adults and children to assist them in building new reading habits and maintaining and growing existing ones.
“Reading and sharing stories with children is one of the most powerful gifts you can give them. Not only does it help to develop children’s literacy skills, it also fires up those parts of the brain concerned with imagination, emotion, sensation and movement. Ultimately it helps to create the neural circuits that enable sophisticated thinking and reasoning, helping children to do well at school,” explains Jade Jacobsohn, Nal’ibali Managing Director.
Founded in 2012 by PRAESA (the Project for the Study of Alternative Education in South Africa) and the DG Murray Trust, Nal’ibali has been working with a growing number of partners to get everyone in South Africa excited about reading and storytelling in English and other home languages.
The campaign has achieved significant success through sustained mentoring and collaboration with communities, reading clubs, literacy organisations and volunteers of all ages and has grown to include 810 reading clubs since its inception. It is also helping to grow the library of South African children’s literature and stories through its bi weekly reading-for-enjoyment newspaper supplement and weekly radio stories. To date Nal’ibali has produced 51 stories, and in 2016, aims to add to this publicly available resource with a further eight stories.
“We have made our promise to the nation to assist and support children and adults in becoming strong and powerful readers through the development, translation and distribution of literacy materials as well as on-the-ground support and we hope that they will join us on our literacy journey in 2016 as we work together to grow a nation that reads,” continued Jacobsohn.
The Story Power Promise forms part of the Campaign’s broader Story Power campaign with the clear message that anyone can share a story anytime, anywhere. And, underpinning the Nal’ibali methodology is the idea that reading for enjoyment reaps the best rewards as children who have enjoyable storytelling and reading experiences with caregivers at home show more motivation to read on their own.
With this in mind the campaign is asking families to make reading a fun part of every day this year by reading and sharing stories together for just 15 minutes in their home languages. Stories in a range of South African languages are available, as are tips and ideas on how to read and share them.