Parents encouraged to read to children

Reading to children helps them in development stages.

This was among the key messages delivered to a group of parents at Homestead Centre at the launch of a reading programme on Tuesday September 24.

The programme was run in partnership with Nali’bali, a national reading-for-enjoyment campaign.

It hopes to re-introduce the culture of reading among children. The programme has been specifically tailored to address the reading needs of the children.

But most importantly, the programme seeks to touch the hearts and souls of parents so that they might start implementing reading schedules at home.

Programme organiser, Lorna Tshukse, said during their time at the centre, they had discovered that children were not being afforded the opportunity to hone their reading kills.

Ms Tshukse said reading helps the children in their development stages and also made them critical thinkers. She said reading played a critical role in bettering their academic performance while introducing them to new words.

She appealed to parents to again starting making time for bedtime stories so that they could introduce the culture of reading while the children were still young.

She also lamented that gone are the days that parents made folklores part of their story telling.

“We want to produce future leaders that are critical thinkers. We want to see children that are able to express themselves eloquently. We want children to read with understanding. We want children to be able to write. We hope the programme would bea stepping stone unleashing the children’s potential,” she said.

Ms Tshuke said parents were also allowed to visit the centre and read a book to children. She said the harsh reality was that literacy levels were very low in the township which should not be accepted a as “normal”.

Nali’bali literacy mentor, Monica Kewana, said parents were the first teachers of their children and should ensure that they equip the children with all the necessary tools.

Ms Kewana said often parents often didn’t value the importance of reading to their children while others viewed it as teachers’ duty.

This, she said, should be challenged and changed so that the children were given a platform to shine and achieve their dreams.

Homestead centre manager, Ricardo Rassouw, said education was important for their boys as they strive to improve their lives.

He said many of their boys had experienced trauma and they also have children who had never attended school.

Therefore, he said, this campaign was important in equipping them with an educational foundation.

He said this programme would not only help in empowering the boys but would also play a vital role in the therapeutic process of their live.

He said the centre only accommodated boys between the age of six years to 17 years who were in need of care and protection.