Literacy is said to contribute towards social and economic development. Improving literacy skills at a young age helps build a foundation for an active citizenry. By the time children reach grade four, they should be able to use different patterns, differentiate between sounds (decoding) and read quickly and fluently, but learning to read in South Africa is still a major challenge.
My favourite time all the way through school was at the end of a day, when our English teacher would say, “Put everything away, put your heads on your desks, shut your eyes and listen.” Then we would travel in our minds through the vivid worlds of storybook authors, sometimes familiar and sometimes strange, but always carried by the familiar and accomplished rhythm of our teacher’s reading voice.
Family Literacy Project (FLP) believes that families are the first and most important teachers a child will ever have. It is estimated that one million children in South Africa live in families where no adults are literate. Whatever the levels of literacy of the adults, FLP’s premise is that every family can help prepare children to read and develop a love of books that will lay the foundation for future learning, relaxation and enjoyment.
Family Literacy Project seeks to appoint a Director, based in Underberg, KwaZulu-Natal.
Socrates told us that all thinking begins with wonder. Nobody would dispute the need for developing thoughtful citizens, but just how do we develop a sense of wonder in children? Through stories, of course. 6 March is World Read Aloud Day - this is a day to celebrate the wonder and delight of reading aloud to children (or the child that lurks within us).
South African learners are lobbying local mobile operators - Vodacom, MTN and Cell C - to make Wikipedia free to facilitate easier access to information.
In Uganda and Kenya, mobile operators allow free access to the online encyclopaedia Wikipedia and learners from Sinenjongo High School in Joe Slovo Park outside Cape Town are lobbying to make the service available in South Africa.
The first school library to be funded by the 466/64 Fashion Brand has been donated to the Parkdene Primary School in Kraaifontein near Cape Town, as part of the Mandela Day Libraries Project, which began in 2011.
Among those who attended the handover ceremony were musician Lira and representatives of several companies involved in the project, including Breadline Africa and the Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory.
A total of 13 established libraries in primary schools throughout South Africa is the target, this kicked off with two new container libraries in August 2012.
help2read has expanded its Gauteng network to Emzimvubu Primary in Diepkloof and Shomang Primary in Orlando West, so that both can start benefiting from its volunteer literacy programme.
It recruits and trains volunteers from underprivileged communities and place them in primary schools where teachers identify children who struggle with reading English.
Volunteers dedicate half an hour of their time to each child twice a week and provide them with long-term, one-to-one care and support by building their self-esteem and confidence levels.
A dream to help children learn to read has been motivating Julia Mputhi, founder of Kids EduCare, for the past 21 years.
Mphuti, who recognised the need for someone to look after children who wandered aimlessly about the streets in her neighbourhood, has given her time, energy and her heart to her creche, often funding its activities with her own money.
In 2006 fate smiled on her and as part of a lotteries-funded Early Childhood Development (ECD) project run by READ Educational Trust, she received training as a caregiver, which earned her NQF Level 1 certificate.
The National Library says that more than R1 billion has been spent on community libraries in South Africa since 2007.
In a press statement, National Library spokesperson, Andrew Malotle, says that the money was part of a conditional grant the arts and culture department gave to public and community libraries.