Story Powered Schools is proud to announce the KwaZulu-Natal winners of its new interschool reading club competition! Competing against reading clubs from 12 other primary schools in each of their districts, Elangeni Read Club from Mthini Primary in Ugu, and Siyafunda Reading Club from Nkanyezi Primary School in Uthukela, came out tops!
Not only were the clubs judged 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 story books; and give literacy-related performances to demonstrate their typical reading club activities.
Said judge Nontobeko Dlamini, a development practitioner and member of the Uthukela District Municipality: “The level of competition was unexpectedly high. The confidence in the children and the passion of their teachers show a lot of what is happening back at the schools. This is remarkable and certainly not what we were expecting!”
And, standing-out from the rest, both Elangeni and Siyafunda Reading Clubs were awarded first place with their displays and performances reflecting that for the children who attend and adults who guide them, the club was not simply an afterschool activity, but a way of life that they were eagerly upholding and promoting.
The competition was established to help root a culture of reading for joy in the 240 rural primary schools the Story Powered Schools project has been working with this year. Said Michael Cekiso, Story Powered Schools Programme Manager: “A well-rooted culture of reading can be a real gamechanger for education in South Africa. We have been working with hundreds of schools to introduce them to the power and magic of reading in home languages. The competition is a way for these clubs to connect and further inspire each other.”
The joy of the learners in tangible. Said ten-year-old Alondwe Magudulela from Siyafunda: “Our reading club is a fun, free space where we do all our activities in a way we are comfortable in. We won because we love what we do in our club!”
And, commenting on their success, Mrs Bongiwe Xaba, a Life Orientation teachers and leader of the Elangeni club added: “We did not expect to win, we saw the displays of the other clubs and were blown away. But our club has heart. We have been working steadily throughout the year and have been gently encouraging the learners to have fun reading by creating a relaxed and engaging atmosphere for them. I think the judges saw their enjoyment and pride in being part of the club.”