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. Picture: Pixabay

There is huge potential in South Africa to turn our literacy crisis around so that reading becomes a powerful tool, to tackle inequality and poverty.  As Nelson Mandela said, "Education is the most powerful weapon you can use to change the world." 

While education may be the most powerful weapon, reading aloud and storytelling are integral building blocks in learning.

This is why NGO, Nal’ibali, focusses on reading-for enjoyment. Nal’ibali is built on the simple logic that a well-established culture of reading can be the tipping point for education in South Africa.  Part of this ongoing drive to encourage South Africans to read is Nal’ibali’s World Read Aloud Day (WRAD) initiative.

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. 

They are doing it for their children, their language and their futures. This year Nal’ibali is asking those who are already readers to not only read the story commissioned for WRAD 2019 with their children on the day, but to reach out to their networks and encourage others do the same and be part of the South Africa’s literacy solution.

Jade Jacobsohn, Nali’bali’s managing director, says, "Every year we commission a brand-new story and translate it into all 11 official SA 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.

Why read aloud? 

Most of the teaching that happens in a child’s early years is oral.  Being able to recognise and understand a wide pool of words, better equips them to learn and succeed in the classroom.

"The reading of a story out loud 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," says Jacobson.

Download Where Are You? here