Cape Town - Learners from disadvantaged schools across the City were yesterday treated to a special reading session at the Green Point Urban Park in celebration of World Read Aloud Day.
Stormers rugby players Ruhan Nel, Clayton Blommetjies, Seabelo Senatla and Mnombo Zwelendaba also joined in the fun, each grabbing a book and reading passionately to the children, explaining as they went along.
Wandiswa Mhlungwini, a teacher at Vukani Primary School in Philippi East, said: “We had a great day. It benefited the learners so much because they learnt how to listen and also respond to the text.
“By looking at their response it is safe to say that they enjoyed the programme. It also helps them with our weekly ‘Listening and Speaking‘ that we have at school.”
World Read Aloud Day is observed annually since it was established by non-profit organisation LitWorld in 2010, with 101 libraries in the City commemorating the importance of reading with comprehension.
In attendance were mayor Geordin Hill-Lewis and City librarians, who encouraged engagement by asking questions and explaining what was being read.
Christelle Lubbe, head of professional services and programmes at the City, said their focus for the day was Grade 4s, because according to statistics, they especially couldn’t read with meaning.
“On this day we show children that reading is important and that the activity of reading can be fun.
“We have different stories in different languages and by bringing them to the park environment, we take the children out of their normal situations and show that they can learn in so many different ways and see reading as fun and not something they have to do.”
The learners from Vukani Primary, Essenhout Primary in Delft South, Enkululekweni Primary in Wallacedene and Mamre Primary School in Mamre, each received a meal and a bag with children’s books, as well as books for their schools sponsored by Nal’ibali.
To ensure reading was made fun for the learners, mascot Libby the Bee and others interacted with the scholars, while some teachers were dressed as fairies.
Hill-Lewis said: “Reading is incredibly important because South Africa has a lot of bad education outcomes, unfortunately, but one of the easiest ways to fix those is to get more young children reading everyday, both to themselves and reading aloud to their parents. Those are really important but simple steps we can take to improve education in the country.”