South Africa’s reading-for-enjoyment campaign, Nal’ibali, took third place at the African Union’s Innovation in Education Prize, rising ahead of six other emerging innovators from across the continent. The announcement came during the AU Commission’s Innovating Education in Africa Exhibition in Dakar, supported by the Senegalese Government and African partner institutions. The campaign received this recognition in large part for its bilingual reading-for-enjoyment supplement. The supplement is produced by PRAESA (Project for the Research of Alternative Education in South Africa), printed biweekly in Tiso Blackstar newspapers, The Daily Dispatch, Herald and The Sunday World. It is donated and delivered directly to reading clubs, schools, libraries, and community organisations in the Nal’ibali network across South Africa, with the support of its publisher and the South African Post Office. Since 2012, 37.3 million supplements have been distributed to those who need them the most. “We’re really honoured to receive this continent-wide recognition,” says Katie Huston, Head of Research and Innovation at Nal’ibali. “We often assume innovation has to mean new technology, but the supplement shows that something really ‘low-tech’ can have a huge impact when it is built on sound research; when it catalyses ground-breaking partnerships between the private sector, civil society and government; and when it meets people where they are. We want to thank the AU for recognising the importance of innovative solutions to our continent’s education challenges. Together we can give all our children the opportunity and support they need to become lifelong readers.” Nal’ibali’s award-winning supplement may be the answer to one of South Africa’s biggest challenges: How do we get quality, affordable reading material into our children’s hands? Reading has been shown to be the single biggest contributor to a child’s future school success, yet only 17% of South African schools have a . . .
To commemorate the centenary celebration of Nelson Mandela’s birthday, Nal’ibali – South Africa’s reading-for-enjoyment campaign – is highlighting some of the values he embodied by sharing a special series of three children’s stories. Made possible through a collaboration with local publisher, Heartlines, the stories focus on honesty, compassion and forgiveness and are an effective way for adults and caregivers to help pass these values to their children. Available from Nal’ibali’s website in English, isiXhosa, isiZulu and Afrikaans for the week of Mandela’s birthday, the stories, Topo’s Tree House, Bear’s Haircut and The Small Seed, will also be shared amongst children in Nal’ibali’s national network of over 1 000 reading clubs. Each of the three stories comes with activities and talking points about the values they focus on to help parents and caregivers engage their children around these important principles. “Through discussing the pictures, characters and what is happening in a story, children learn about how stories work and how to explore them. By letting the conversation flow naturally as we enjoy a story together we are extending children’s literacy learning. Many stories focus on how characters deal with challenges that life sends their way. Story conversations help children to relate what they read about in stories to their own lives. Children are able to practise expressing their feelings and opinions as they learn about themselves and explore the complex world we live in,” says Arabella Koopman, Content Development Specialist for Nal’ibali. Not only does Nal’ibali value the power of reading for enjoyment, it understands the role of language and cultural relevance in children’s literacy development. Language is intrinsically linked to belonging and when children see themselves in stories, this too contributes to positive self-development. In order to share these three stories with even larger audiences, community radio stations in . . .
‘Books are a uniquely portable magic’ -Stephen King There is no substitute for books in the life of a child. Which is why NGO, The Nal’ibali Trust, is expanding on its reading-for-enjoyment campaign, to initiate a national book exchange project on the 26 May. Jade Jacobsohn, Nal’ibali’s Managing Director says, “Literacy Mentors across the country will be hosting public book exchange events, where everyone is encouraged to bring and swap a book, enjoy storytelling and read-aloud sessions, and find out more about how they can read and share stories effectively with their children.” How it works The book exchange welcomes books of any variety; printed or handmade books for adults or children can be swapped. Those bringing books to exchange will receive a special sticker which can be placed on the inside cover. The sticker provides an opportunity for the previous owner to inscribe their name and location before passing it on. Illiteracy is the academic handbrake A recent study by PIRLS states that 78% of Grade 4’s in South Africa are illiterate. All the more worrying when the ability to read in Grade 4 is regarded as crucial. From Grades 1 to 3 you learn to read, but from Grades 4 to 12 you read to learn. “If a learner is unable to read properly, they will never get a firm grasp on the first rung of the academic ladder and will fall further and further behind,” says Stellenbosch University education expert, Nic Spaull. Although parents have high aspirations for their children, many are not aware that reading is a powerful way to help them reach their potential. Research shows that only 35% of adults read regularly to their children and very few are readers themselves. But teachers, parents and caregivers can play a significant role in children’s literacy development. The Nal’ibali book exchange is an easy and fun way for caregivers and adults to start to model positive reading behaviors and become reading role models for their children. Reading is . . .
Nal’ibali - South Africa’s national reading-for-enjoyment campaign - is proud to be adding two more South African languages to their literacy newspaper supplements. Setswana and Xitsonga readers can now enjoy the Nal’ibali supplements in their mother languages from mid-April 2018. This latest addition brings the total number of languages to eight, for Nal’ibali’s bilingual supplements. It is a significant milestone for Nal’ibali, who fully promotes reading and writing in mother languages. The supplements are made possible through a media partnership with Tiso Blackstar (formerly Times Media Group), who produce the bilingual newspaper supplements every two weeks, during term time. The print rich material includes stories, literacy activities, reading and reading club tips and support, to inspire and guide parents, caregivers, teachers, librarians and reading clubs, to make reading and storytelling meaningful, enjoyable and accessible. “The importance of mother language preservation and promotion is critical and should be addressed as such,” explains Nal’ibali Xitsonga language editor, Mr Gezani Chabalala, who believes language, culture and identity are inseparable and complement each other. Language assists in shaping one’s culture. It is important to preserve and promote mother tongue for the language’s continued existence, and as a minority language in SA, Xitsonga speakers will benefit from this milestone. People learn and understand better when lessons are conducted in a language they know and understand well, concludes Chabalala. Nal’ibali places value on the power of language and cultural relevance in literacy development. To cultivate a reading culture and a nation that prides itself on high-level literacy, all children and adults need to understand what they are listening to and reading. Real understanding makes it meaningful and enjoyable which is significant for raising readers. “I would like to commend Nal'ibali for giving the Batswana . . .
Nal’ibali, the national-reading-for-enjoyment campaign, has announced 14-year-old Sabelo Khomo from Hammarsdale, as the KwaZulu-Natal provincial winner of its annual storytelling contest, Story Bosso. Chosen from over 6 000 entries collected from across the country and over 1 000 entries in KwaZulu-Natal, Khomo’s winning entry, Ugogo nengane, is a folktale told to him by his grandmother. Each year Nal’ibali hosts its month-long Story Bosso drive in September (Literacy Month), to encourage members of the public, young and old, to get storytelling in their home languages. A simple yet effective method to lay the literacy foundations that children will need to learn to read and write; storytelling is something that anybody can do: anytime, anywhere. The sharing of stories is also part of the collective culture and heritage of all South Africans. This year the talent search attracted a record number of entries and included a provincial road-show with celebrated storytellers, including Gcina Mhlope and Sindiwe Magona, giving special demonstrations of their craft to adults and children in different parts of the country. Driving the initiative at local level, Nal’ibali Literacy Mentors held over 100 audition and entry events in seven provinces to source stories directly from communities and from Nal’ibali’s network of over 1 000 reading clubs. Sanelisiwe Ntuli, Nal’ibali Literacy Mentor says Khomo is a natural storyteller with a strong sense of creativity – he enjoys telling stories and making up new ones from folktales his grandmother shares with him. “Sabelo’s story is my favourite because it has not one, but two elements of storytelling in it: song and education. Him, or the story having music in it, works for him,” commented Mpumy Ndlovu, a Story Bosso judge, actress and storyteller. Khomo is joined by seven additional provincial winners: Java Hoy in the Eastern Cape; Lethuxolo November in Gauteng; Dimakatso Letsoele in Mpumalanga; Annah Gumbi in North . . .
Overjoyed at their unexpected success, the ten young pupils who make up Nkanyezi Primary School’s first-ever reading club, Siyafunda, happily accepted the shield announcing their first-place win at the Story Powered Schools interschool-reading-club competition at the Ekuvukeni Community Hall in Uthukela. Competing against reading clubs from across 12 other primary schools in the second and final round, adjudicators said the level of competition was unexpectedly high, given that this is the first year the contest has been run. “The confidence in the children and the passion in their teachers shows a lot of what is happening back at the schools. This is remarkable and certainly not what we were expecting,” commented Nontobeko Dlamini, a development practitioner and member of the Uthukela District Municipality. Not only were the clubs scored on their dedication to reading, writing and storytelling over the year, they were asked to put together displays of their creative work including examples of their writing and drawing; favourite isiZulu and English books; and give literacy-related performances to demonstrate their typical reading-club activities too. Said Miss Hlatshwayo, a teacher at Nkanyezi Primary School and leader of the winning club: “We did not expect to win! We started the clubs in earlier in the year – it was our first one and it has been a group effort between myself, my colleagues and the community members that support us. But, really, it has been the children who have turned reading into a lifestyle. Their thirst for reading and stories in unstoppable!” Established by the national Nal’ibali reading-for-enjoyment campaign’s school’s project, Story Powered Schools, to help root a culture of reading for joy in rural primary schools, the contest is also being run in Ugu, and in Mbizana and Maluti in the Eastern Cape. Research has shown a direct link between reading for pleasure and children’s school success with children who read on a . . .
This Women’s Month, Nal’ibali – the national reading-for-enjoyment campaign, has joined forces with young author and activist, Buhle Ngaba, to bring the power of stories to girls across the country. Buhle’s acclaimed children’s book, The Girl Without a Sound, is a moving story about the importance of hearing the stories and voices of girls and comes at a time in South Africa when the stories of women need to be heard. Originally available in English and Ngaba’s home language, Setswana, the Nal’ibali campaign has translated the story into SA’s two most widely spoken languages: isiXhosa and isiZulu, and is making it freely available for download from its web- and mobisites, www.nalibali.org and www.nalibali.mobi, for the month of August. “It means a lot to me to have done this in collaboration with Nal’ibali,” says Ngaba. “It started off as me writing a story about how I felt voiceless as a little girl but, as I shared the story with others, I was overwhelmed by their support as they recognised the same feelings within themselves. I began to realise and see the need to make space for the voices of girls and women to be heard and I hope that more writers and creators will join me!” Literacy is a powerful tool for upliftment and, when children are presented with books and stories that they can identify with, they can quickly grow to love reading. In the process, they discover a world of possibility that extends beyond their current circumstances and which offers them choices and opportunity for an independent future. Launching the month-long sharing of her story with the campaign, Ngaba gave a special reading to young girls at the Seaview Primary in Mitchell’s Plain – a Nal’ibali supported township school. Impressing on the young pupils the need to let their voices be heard and to dream big, Ngaba gave each girl a piece of paper and encouraged them to draw a picture of their dreams after the reading out loud session. Further supporting Ngaba in her drive . . .
Shining a light on literacy issues in Limpopo and what ordinary citizens can do to overcome them, Nal’ibali, the national reading-for-enjoyment campaign, is hosting a public imbizo in Seshego, Polokwane, through its activist arm, FUNda Leader. Taking place on June 10 ahead of Youth Day, the imbizo will address the current challenges facing the nation and the province when it comes to teaching children to read and write, and highlight the different ways ordinary citizens –especially young people – can support the development of the next generation. Three FUNda Leaders members operating in the province will be profiled. Key to the FUNda Leader movement is the understanding that literacy change in South Africa is something that anyone and everyone can – and should - be involved in. Says Righardt le Roux, Nal’ibali’s Limpopo Support Coordinator: “Being a FUNda Leader equips young people to understand the current literacy crisis in South Africa and to respond to it through social participation.” Launched mid-2016 and now a network of over 2 500 activists nationwide, the FUNda Leader movement provides specialised training and support for everyday South Africans who want to stand up for literacy in their communities, and emphasises the important role that young people can play simply by acting as reading role models, and reading and sharing stories with children in their home languages. Sharing stories with children in relaxed and engaging ways, and in languages they understand, motivates them to learn to read and write. Followed by their teachers, research has shown that the most prominent reading role models young children have are their parents, but all not children in South Africa have guardians who are available or able to spend time reading and sharing stories with them. Neither do the staff at South Africa’s many under-resourced schools, who lack the capacity to engage with their pupils individually. This is particularly true for Limpopo schools and there . . .
To mark World Book Day on 23 April, Nal’ibali, the national reading-for-enjoyment campaign, is giving away books to the value of R250 000. A specially curated list of titles of different South African authors and languages, these books will be gifted to the campaign’s literacy development partners, reaching 20 000 children across South Africa. Nal’ibali is calling on the support of the public to help increase the number of books per child by donating new or gently used books, at special readings taking place on Friday, 21 April. Nal’ibali has been supporting a growing movement of South African children and caregivers who enjoy reading and sharing stories, since 2012. This is done by providing free access to good quality stories in English and home languages through its web- and mobisites; through its bilingual reading-for-enjoyment supplement, and on more than 11 different radio stations each week. The donation aims to celebrate the work of its partners by helping to create a print rich environment, and recognising the joy and value of reading storybooks. Handling and paging through printed storybooks, especially for children, feeds into their emotions and intellectual wellbeing. From an early age, children can fall in love with books and enjoy the sensory experience of handling them. Evidence shows that children who regularly read and hear engaging stories, in languages they understand, are well equipped and motivated to learn to read and write. “The most inspiring part of promoting a reading culture in South Africa is that many parents, caregivers and community-based organisations are already reading and telling stories to their children! Now, through this generous donation by the DG Murray Trust – an initiating and funding partner of the Nal’ibali campaign, we are able to gift the children supported by our partners with hard copies of books,” said Jade Jacobsohn, Nal’ibali Managing Director. Special handover events with more than 100 partners will be . . .
Launched mid-2016, Nal’ibali’s FUNda Leader movement is an avenue for everyday South Africans who want to stand up for literacy in their communities to receive specialised training and support from the Nal’ibali reading-for-enjoyment campaign. Now a network of over 2 000 activists nationwide, Nal’ibali addressed the Western Cape members of its volunteer network at an imbizo on Saturday 25 March, focussing on the simple, yet effective role that young people and community members can play as reading role models to effect literacy change in their communities. Key to the FUNda Leader movement is the understanding that literacy change in South Africa is something that anyone and everyone can be involved in. Said Pumza Ndamase, Nal’ibali Training Coordinator: “One of the most powerful ways we can develop a generation of readers is by acting as reading role models for them.” Outlining the success that fellow FUNda Leaders have had in this area, the event was also an opportunity for members to engage with one another and share their ideas as well as successes and challenges in sustaining literacy in their communities. Further inspiring them, award-winning South African author and long-time literacy activist, Sindiwe Magona, shared her personal and professional journey to success; a tale that is testament to what can be achieved with determination, courage and encouragement – despite an apparent lack of immediate resources. Magona obtained her matric certificate and Bachelor’s degree while working as a domestic worker before going on to complete her Masters, and later received an honorary doctorate from a New York arts college. Recognising the role that her own reading role models played in her achievements, she shared details on their influence. Explained Ndamase: “Being a reading role model does not require special training or knowledge, but rather a willingness to engage children and teenagers in books and stories. Reading role models demonstrate reading as . . .