Teachers are being encouraged to instil a culture of reading in pupils by encouraging them to read more and thereby contribute to building an informed nation.
The call was made by staff at the Khayelitsha Public Library at an annual reading competition hosted by the library on Tuesday April 26.
Library staff said local primary schools need to reintroduce a culture of reading to their children.
The event’s organiser, librarian Vuyokazi Rani-Njambatwa, said there should be a drive to help children read and that more needs to be done to promote indigenous languages.
Ms Rani-Njambatwa said the competition included all Khayelitsha’s primary schools. “This an annual event for us. We are excited that the competition is growing tremendously.
“We work in partnership with local primary school to promote reading.
“We want teachers to encourage reading and make it interesting for children.
“We also want children to know that reading is not punishment, but something fun,” she said.
Grade 7 pupils from 10 schools competed against each other by reading, spelling and answering questions posed by adjudicators. The competition proved to be fun, with pupils laughing, assisting each other silently and applauding their counterparts.
Ms Rani-Njambatwa said the competition has proved many critics wrong because schools have taken it into themselves to see it a successful.
There were two categories in the competition: reading in Xhosa and reading in English.
While they felt they could have done with some more time to prepare, teachers were excited about the competition.
Siphiwo Petersen said the competition helped children to understand how to gesture when one is reading and to make eye contact, among other things.
“We always encourage them to read. I am glad to see something that will revive their interest in reading.
“This is a platform to showcase that skill. I am speaking on behalf of other schools too. We are grateful for this kind of work done by the library.
“All we have to do is take it forward. It is up to us as teachers now to encourage these pupils,” he said.
Winning pupils were awarded floating trophies to take to their schools. Winning of the isiXhosa reading competition was Chumani Primary Scholl’s Sinesipho Mbungwana an in the English reading category, the winner was Lilitha Sidumo from Yomelela Primary. The pupils said the were proud to have represented their schools.
Ludwe Boso from Sakumalandela Primary who came up in third in the English category said she had learned a lot and had enjoyed taking part in the competition.
Senior librarian Felicia Gumede said the library was trying to get children to start reading for pleasure and “to use the library for their benefit.“We are open to them even on weekends. We need to promote the culture of reading even to elderly people,” she said.