File photo: Oupa Mokoena / African News Agency (ANA)

Cape Town – Reading out aloud may be an integral building block in learning and has the potential to turn around South Africa’s literacy crisis.

This is why NGO Nal’ibali has encouraged South Africans to participate in its World Read Aloud Day (Wrad) initiative, which is celebrated tomorrow.

As the biggest literacy drive in the country, Wrad seeks to draw attention to the importance of reading aloud to children in their mother tongue.

Every year, thousands of South Africans join in the celebration.

Nal’ibali is asking those who are already readers to not only read the story commissioned for Wrad 2019 with their children, but to reach out to their networks and encourage others to do the same and be part of South Africa’s literacy solution.

Nal’ibali’s managing director Jade Jacobsohn said: “Every year, we commission a brand-new story and translate it into all 11 official South African languages.

“Then we encourage adults and caregivers across the country to join us in reading it aloud to children on Wrad.

“This year’s story, Where Are You? is written by Ann Walton, a well-known South African author and illustrator of children’s books.”

The story can be downloaded from Nal’ibali’s website.

Jacobsohn said they encouraged South Africans to register the fact that they would be reading aloud and to share pictures of their reading sessions online.

“The reading of a story out aloud not only shows children the value of books, but starts discussions, builds bonds between the reader and the audience and motivates children to learn to read and enjoy books beyond their current reading ability,” said Jacobsohn.

She added that last year, with the help of their partners, they managed to read to more than a million children.

“‘In 2019, our aim is to beat that record and reach 1.5 million.”

If you would like to join the Nal’ibali Wrad initiative, visit www.nalibali.org or www.nalibali.mobi to download the official story in any of the languages.