George Library joined the world this past week in World Read-aloud day and reached out to schools throughout George, to develop and foster a love for reading and books, especially with children.
World Read-aloud day is a worldwide event. Ms Rachel Williams, Manager: George Libraries said the Library Service was inundated with requests by schools and crèches who were desperate to participate in the programme on this day. The result was that the programme was rolled out for the rest of the week and will be continued next week at schools. The library service will cover areas and schools that were not covered this week.
Reading and especially the importance of Reading Aloud for entertainment and recreational purposes, is being emphasized during this week. “When you read aloud, especially to children, you are opening doors and windows whereby their horizons are broadened, they hear new words, gain a better understanding of the world that they find themselves in, and it allows people to embrace and stand up for literacy as a foundational Human Right,” Williams said.
The George libraries tried to read as far and wide as possible. Williams said she had feedback from colleagues that libraries across the Western Cape were very busy with read-aloud events.
Williams said she and her library team have been promoting reading that made people relax since the start of Covid-19. People that struggle with any mental related issues, insomnia and more will benefit from reading that relaxes them. “Covid-19 has a negative emotional effect on most people and this is how the libraries can assist our communities. The long isolation periods during Covid had terrible negative consequences on our communities. Many people have mental illness (severe depression) and the need for togetherness, interaction and communication. These events and reading work comfortingly on the human mind,” Williams said.
George Libraries joined in with Nali’bali – a national reading-for-enjoyment campaign to spark children’s potential through storytelling and reading. Nali’Bali is an isiXhosa word that means here is the story. Nali’bali is built on the simple logic that a well-established culture of reading can be a real game-changer for education in South Africa. Literacy skills are a strong predictor of future academic success in all subjects – and children who regularly read and hear engaging stories, in languages they understand, are well equipped and motivated to learn to read and write.
The theme of the story this year was, A party at the park, written by Mabel Mnensa and illustrations by Rico. By means of this story children become aware of music and musical instruments, chanting, singing and dancing and simply to have a great time with friends and family. The emphasis is on joy and happiness, the importance of spending time with loved ones and to join in on fun filled activities and events.
Librarians Shonise Jansen of Haarlem Library, Elmine Vorster from George Library, Rachel Williams, Garelene Muller, Cynthia Nongogo, Anet Kortman, Sylvia Kibido and Sandie Lingani and Malibongwe Luyenge all visited schools this week to roll out the World Read-Aloud programme.
The value of Reading Aloud is that it is a fun activity that allows children to escape into another world, it stimulates and enhance good listening and communication skills and it exposes children to new words and thoughts, which develop cognitive and language skills.