Appeal for parents to read aloud

Pictured are the children from Khulani library with representatives from Nali'bali and library staff.

In honour of World Read Aloud Day on Thursday February 1, Nal’ibali, the national reading-for-enjoyment campaign, held three events at Harare, Khulani and Khayelitsha libraries to promote the importance of reading.

The day aims to encourage parents to read aloud to their children.

At the events, librarians and parents read books to children and, in return, the children shared their educational stories.

Nal’ibali said reading aloud improves children’s literacy while creating an irreplaceable bond between them and their parents.

Nal’ibali literacy mentor, Thando Mkoyi, said they wanted to encourage parents to start recognising the importance of reading books to their children.

He said the organisation held various events across the country and this year they wanted to reach one million children during World Read Aloud Day.

He said the harsh reality was that townships parents were not reading to their children and that needed to change.

He said that they wanted parents to actively take part in their children’s school development.

He made it clear that it was not only the role of the teachers to educate their children. He said today’s education system required the full involvement of the parents.

“We want to build future leaders who appreciate the importance of reading. The perception that teachers are responsible for the children learning should stop. We want our children to start reading from an early age. But most importantly we want parents to play their pivotal role in urging children to read. We can’t produce sound leadership if this current generation does not read. Reading exposes children to new words and boosts their confidence. We need to promote reading all the time,” he said.

Mr Mkoyi said reading aloud, and particularly in home languages, is one of the most important things caregivers can do for their children.

Khulani librarian Yandiswa Pearls said the library took part in the initiative as it boosted their misson to promote literacy.

She said they wanted parents to also come to the library with their children. She said many children battled to read with understanding.

Ms Pearls said reading was one of the key factors in helping children to make better and informed life choices.

She said that without books, history would be silenced.

School teacher at Sinothando Educare Centre, Nothuthuzelo Ntshona, said the day helped them realise the importance of reading to children. She said they will make it a point to include reading aloud sessions at the school.