Battle of the readers in District 3

All those participated in the event received goodies. In front is event coordinator, Mbulelo Zumana,addressing the audience.

In an effort to encourage pupils to read more, libraries in District 3 held a reading competition for Grade 7 pupils at Northwood hall in Woodlands.

About 15 libraries from different areas took part in the event, each library represented by primary schools closest to it.

Town Centre librarian Anelisa Qina said their aim was to help children enjoy reading and to inculcate a reading a culture. “Our District 3 comprises areas like Mitchell’s Plain, Khayelitsha and Philippi. And we have about 35 participants in the event now. Each library from Philippi and Khayelitsha is represented by two pupils from different schools and only libraries in Mitchell’s Plain are represented by three pupils each,” she said, explaining there are only two categories for Philippi and Khayelitsha, namely Xhosa and English, while in Mitchell’s Plain there English, Afrikaans and Xhosa.

Ms Qina said they want to build a relationship between them (libraries) and schools, hoping that the parents will come on board.

She said the district has been participating in the competition for about two years. “We joined the competition in 2014 but within this short period we’ve already see an improvement,” she said.

Ms Qina said librarians serve as a link between teachers and parents, helping to improve literacy levels.

The co-ordinator of the reading competition, Mbulelo Zumana, said the competition helps pupils to improve their language and life skills. “This is not only about reading, it also builds their self-esteem by helping them to stand in front of people and read and helps them in their academics also,” he explained.

Mr Zumana said libraries play a pivotal role in the community and schools at large. “Many schools do not have adequate resources so they rely on us. We are the ones who support them with information they need because some of the schools do not have libraries. And we also have programms for children like story hour and reading programmes,” he explained.

Trudy Hampe, a teacher at Imperial Primary in Beacon Valley, said at their school they had reading competitions on different levels for different grades. “By doing that we’re promote reading not only in our school, but the community as well,” she said.

Ms Hampe said their school is privileged to have resources. “Fortunately our school is well equipped in terms of resources compared to other schools in our area. We always have finalists in each competition we participated in.

“The quality of teaching and reading is evident from our systematic test results and the annual national assessments,” she said, adding that knowledge is acquired through reading.

Danielle Johannes, 12, a Grade 7 pupil from Alpine Primary School in Beacon Valley, who came second in the Afrikaans category, described the event as exciting. “It’s my second time now and my reading in Afrikaans is improving a lot. I also like reading because it keeps me busy,” she said.

Ayabulela Sana, 13, a Grade 7 pupil from Mitchell Heights Primary School in Tafelsig, who was reading Xhosa, urged her peers not to be afraid to speak their languages. “It was so exciting even though I was nervous. I’m hoping that in the next event I’ll be fine,” she said.