Town Centre library staff and Imperial Primary School pupils joined the festivities
at a World Read Aloud Day (WRAD) event hosted by the City’s Library and Information Service last week.
The Company’s Garden in the Cape Town CBD was buzzing with laughter and excitement as people read aloud to mark the day which
is celebrated on February 5 annually.
The City’s libraries partnered with the recreation and parks, and arts and culture departments, as well as NGO Nal’ ibali, Read2Rise and schools.
Established in 2010 by the non-profit organisation LitWorld, WRAD has grown to rally more than a million people actively participating in local events in more than 100 countries.
“The benefits of reading to children daily, no matter how young, cannot be overemphasised. Apart from the boost to literacy skills and language acquisition, reading helps them improve memory and concentration. It’s also a fun way to entertain them as they learn,” said the City’s mayoral committee member for community services and health, Zahid Badroodien.
Imperial Primary School teacher, Zureenah Williams, said reading and literacy were important components for them. “Crime and poverty in our area are rife and we don’t get an opportunity to get out much. Books and reading help children use their imagination, their characteristics are shaped through reading,” she said.
Imperial Primary is working closely with the Town Centre library. They encourage reading to the children and sometimes visit and read stories to them in class.
Storyteller from the DG Murray Trust, Pumza Ndamase read to the Imperial pupils a story called, A day to remember.
Ms Ndamase said it was important for children to be exposed to books. “One gains a lot of skills when they are exposed to books and reading aloud.Thechild needs to be out of the classroom from time to time. It helps them grow. It is important they read, they need more role models who read. Some children cannot read, WRAD allows them to engage, listen and use their imagination,” she said.
Reading reduces stress, improves memory and helps to strengthen bonds so there are benefits for parents and caregivers too when they read out loud. Other advantages are that it builds confidence and promotes a love for reading, while helping children develop a positive relationship with books, said Mr Badroodien.
This year Nal’ ibali, which promotes a culture of reading, aims to read out loud to two million children.
The City’s libraries are getting in on the act and have pledged to read aloud to either children, teens or adults at their respective libraries.
The City said other events at libraries included hosting storytelling sessions for pre and primary schools, while in some instances librarians wer going out to schools to reach pupils and help foster a love for books.