READING TIME: Grade 3 pupils, of Bontebok Primary School in Swellendam, enjoying the Adventure reading rooms provided by Coronation Fund Management, to help promote literacy. Picture: SUPPLIED

Cape Town - International Literacy Day will be celebrated around the world today (Sep 8), to put a spotlight on the high levels of illiteracy and how reading and writing can empower people.

Literacy is a human right - an essential tool in realising peace, promoting democracy, eradicating poverty, achieving gender equality and ensuring sustainable development.

Today the Mustadafin Foundation, under the theme “The power of reading”, invites parents to come and listen to their children recite stories and poetry at the Tafelsig Library in Mitchells Plain in Cape Town.

Foundation director Ghairunisa Johnstone-Cassiem said: “We firmly believe that literacy and education is the cornerstone in building a positive future. We strive to provide every human being with skills and opportunities to overcome their circumstances, to become agents for positive change through education.”

In celebration of Literacy Day, Swellendam primary schools VRT Pitt and Bontebok Primary were provided with two Reading Adventure Rooms by investment firm Coronation Fund Managers.

Coronation's programme, started seven years ago and, managed by the Living Through Learning non-profit organisation, aims to bolster reading skills for pupils in Grade R to Grade 3.

More than 7000 pupils are expected to benefit from this programme, which also includes the training of teachers and transformation of classrooms with murals and equipment, to create stimulating learning environments.

Coronation's head of marketing, Wendy Bergsteedt, said good reading skills were the foundation of academic success.

“While financial support is a start, we are committed to achieving real progress by spending time inside disadvantaged communities to assess how we can help,” said Bergsteedt.

Cape Times