Literacy activists were honoured at a special event at Town Centre library on Wednesday November 15.
Eastville Primary School pupils; members of Read to Rise; an NPO which promotes youth literacy in schools; and Fatima and Gadija Sydow from cooking show Kaap, Kerrie en Koesisters were among those in attendance.
JP Smith, mayoral committee member for safety and security; and social services, spoke about how literacy and reading can contribute to a child’s success.
“Reading helps us grow and develop skills and we must celebrate the heroes who inspire and encourage reading. We thank the literacy activists within the community who selflessly give of their time to help our children hone their reading skills,” he said.
Gadija Sydow and Erfaan Dollie were honoured for their reading programme at Seaview Primary School library which entails reading intervention classes for more than 280 pupils.
These classes include poetry and spelling bee clubs, a young authors’ club, and learning how to read through singing.
Mr Dollie encouraged pupils to read as it opens their minds and opportunities. “The more you read the more educated you become and it widens your vocabulary. I admire the work of teachers, librarians and organisations encouraging pupils to read, thank you,” he said.
The keynote speaker was Nazier Paulsen, a member of the parliamentary portfolio committee on science and technology, who said words and letters give you power and with that power you are able to set the agenda, standards and tell your own story.
Mr Smith said the success rate of the programme at Seaview Primary School has been extraordinary as it encourages children to read with comprehension and recognise new words.
Seaview Primary started with 36 books at its inception and now has more than 5 000 books donated by various organisations and institutions.
“Literacy is a tool for empowerment and unlocks a door to learning that, once opened, can never be closed again,” said Mr Smith.
“Cultivating a love for reading allows children to access information and engage with others in a manner that can broaden horizons and present new and different opportunities. I want to encourage parents to enrol their children at their local library from a young age. Read to them and be a literacy activist in your home. I salute our literacy activists who make a tangible difference in the lives of the children who attend the programmes,” he said.