Learners, parents and the community promote reading on Mandela Day

The National Education Collaboration Trust (NECT) calls on parents and children from all walks of life to read together in honour of Mandela. Nelson Mandela engenders all those characteristics that define an agent of positive societal change. We therefore call on the nation to pick a book and help children start the journey of reading.

Saturday, 18 July will see volunteers from the NECT, the Limpopo Department of Education and the Mookgophong Local Municipality head out to visit Dikubu Primary School in Mookgophong and spend the day reading.

Sizwe Nxasana, Chairman of the NECT says, “the NECT has partnered with the Department of Basic Education in an initiative aimed at promoting the culture of reading. Effective reading is key to children’s achievement in school and meaningful participation in the economy later in their lives. We encourage the private sector, parents and communities to provide additional books in schools, community libraries and households in order to improve reading nationally”

It’s generally accepted that South Africa lacks a culture of reading. Less than 5% of South African citizens are effective readers compared to over 60% in countries such as Russia. More adult South Africans need to take up reading for knowledge and enjoyment and this culture should be inculcated in our children from an early age. The aim of our reading event this Mandela Day is to showcase the importance of a culture of reading as a critical aspect of learning. In fact, according to Shelley O’Carroll, Director of Wordworks, “oral language skills are critical for learning to read and write and it follows that children who enter school with poor oral language are at risk of not achieving academic milestones.  Reading with children from a young age helps to build a solid language foundation that is so important for academic learning.  Research has shown that it is not only the text in a book that is important.  Parents and caregivers should spend time talking about a book with children before, during and after reading”, says Shelley.

By inviting parents and members of the community to take part in, or simply attend our event we hope to demonstrate the power and importance of reading and the role it plays in the education and development of our youngsters and the ways in which it can enrich the lives of parents themselves. Parents and community members play a crucial role in inculcating the culture of reading in children.

The event at Dikubu Primary School will commence at 10h00, attendees are encouraged to bring their favourite books and books they would like to donate.

In addition, we encourage everyone, regardless of where they are to dedicate their 67-minutes of activism to reading. Organise a community event and invite everyone to bring and share their favourite books. Let’s start reading, and encourage everyone to read as well.

In conclusion, Godwin Khosa, CEO of the NECT, remarks that: “We ask all South Africans to make the time to pick up a book and read, sharing stories with youngsters. It is only when everyone does their part that we will be able to look back in 25 years and call ourselves a nation of readers; empowered by the written word”.

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