Johannesburg - South Africa celebrates World Read Aloud Day (WRAD) today (Wednesday) and the aim is to have 3 million children listening to stories read aloud by carers, parents and teachers.
This will give these young, enquiring minds their first tiny wings of imagination which, if nurtured, will allow them to fly, soar and immerse themselves in other worlds. They will acquire the language and tools to reach their full potential during each flight.
Research shows that 15 minutes of reading every day can expose a child to roughly one million words in a year.
Nal’ibali, a national NGO which encourages reading-for-enjoyment, has been bringing a purpose-written story to children in South Africa on this special day for the past eight years. WRAD is about drawing attention to the importance of reading aloud to children in their mother tongue. It’s about encouraging parents, teachers and caregivers to read aloud to the children in their lives.
Each year, Nal’ibali, commissions a brand-new story and translates it into all 11 official SA languages. This year’s story is Fly, everyone, fly! It was written by WRAD ambassador and well-known author Sihle Nontshokweni.
Nontshokweni will be giving a special reading of the story – in English, Xhosa and Zulu – live on Nal’ibali’s Facebook page (@nalibaliSA) at 1.00 pm today (Wednesday). Caregivers and their children are invited to join the digital read-aloud, not only to hear the story, but to engage with the author and each other, too.
Reading underpins all school learning, and when a child is read to regularly, they perform better in the classroom, regardless of their socio-economic circumstances. Stories can be shared any time, anywhere.
Wherever children and caregivers find themselves on WRAD, Nal’ibali is encouraging them to start or maintain a reading routine. Members of the public wishing to get involved can visit www.nalibali. org or WhatsApp ‘WRAD’ to 060 044 2254 to make their pledge and gain free access to the official story. They are also encouraged to share pictures of their read-aloud sessions online using the hashtag #MyWRAD2021.