World Read Aloud Day: Active citizens encourage a love of reading

If we are to reduce the existing inequalities in education, we must capitalise on innovative ways to encourage all our children to read.

World Read Aloud Day, a rapidly expanding global literacy movement, was one such opportunity which saw children across South Africa, along with their global counterparts, participate in various reading activities on 05 February 2020.


World Read Aloud Day


Eight out of ten Grade 4 learners in South Africa cannot read for meaning in English or their home language according to the Progress in International Reading Literacy Study. President Cyril Ramaphosa’s Vision 2030 has set as a goal that every 10-year-old in South Africa will be able to read for meaning in the next five years. Literacy programmes are therefore avidly supported by Symphonia for South Africa, as these endeavours align with our mission to mobilise active citizenship around education and literacy.

Across South Africa, local literacy NGO, Nali’bali, and its network of partners, coordinated World Read Aloud Day activities. The annual literacy celebration advocates for greater access to literacy through diverse stories, as well as the power of reading aloud – an activity that has been shown to have an immense impact on the academic and cognitive development of a child. Local author and early literacy expert, Lorato Trok, was commissioned to write a brand new story, ‘A Day to Remember’, and this was the book of choice for many participating schools and libraries who were encouraged to read aloud to the children on 05 February 2020.

Thousands of learners across South Africa immersed themselves in the world of stories on this World Read Aloud Day. Along the north coast in Kwa-Zulu Natal, PfP Learning Process Facilitator Terry Dearling, and PfP Business Leader Samantha Jooste, volunteered their time to collate statistics from the day. They concluded that over 8,000 learners in the area participated in World Read Aloud activities.

Ridwan Samodien, co-founder of the PfP programme and principal of PfP nexus school Kannemeyer Primary, believes that World Read Aloud Day was the perfect opportunity to foster a culture of reading at his school not only on the day but also throughout the academic year. He has launched a year-long reading competition to encourage a love for reading and ultimately reading with understanding. The  Flamazing Flamingo-themed competition qualifies readers to stand a chance to win R500 at the end of the year for having read the most books. Former head boy, Lester Kiewit, who is now a CapeTalk show host and journalist, was invited to read aloud to the children at Kannemeyer Primary for World Read Aloud Day.

World Read Aloud Day is celebrated in over 170 countries and the Partners for Possiblity community is proud to be helping to build the movement towards a love of reading in South Africa. Dorcas Dube, National Marketing and Communications Manager of Symphonia for South Africa, said:

‘’We believe that the adage, ‘It takes a village to raise a child’ rings true in this case. By mobilising the village, that is, the adults who wield direct influence over the educational future of our children such as school principals and teachers, as well as parents and other interested parties, the human and social capital needed to tackle the critically important issue of literacy in the first thousand days of each child’s life can be created.’’

30 November -1, 00:00