Keeping the habit of reading alive over the holidays

We know that when children find something pleasurable, they are motivated to do it again and again, and, when adults and children read and share stories together for fun, especially in their home languages, children automatically gain the language skills they need to become good readers and succeed at school. 

This is the premise of Nal’ibali’s proven approach to literacy development, implemented across selected rural schools in the Eastern Cape and KwaZulu-Natal, included in its Story Powered Schools project.  However, for children to gain the full benefits of reading for enjoyment, the practice needs to be part of a regular routine.  This June, to minimize the potential impact of the long holiday break for children in remote areas who have limited access to support programmes and other resources, Story Powered Schools Literacy Mentors held special holiday programmes for more than 7 000 children to help keep them engaged and entertained. 

“Close to four weeks long, the June-July school holidays can be a difficult time for children who are often left alone at home without supervision. The holiday programme is a perfect example of the importance of our collaboration with communities, as it’s through the support of active and caring citizens that we have been able to host these important programmes. Now that they are implemented, we hope they will become part of each community’s annual activities,” says Michael Cekiso, Story Powered Schools Programme Manager. 

Says Andiswa Mkumbuzi, a community member in the Lusikisiki district in the Eastern Cape and volunteer at the Lingelethu Junior Secondary School holiday programme: “This holiday programme gave our kids the chance to learn many things informally. They were very excited, and the programme will help them to love reading even more. I wish they could always be like this, even when they are at school. What I enjoyed the most were the meaningful games and drawing activities. These kids can really draw!”