How to

Six quick tips for promoting family and community literacy

Can you imagine seeing people around you reading every day? Adults reading magazines and books on the train or in the taxi on their way to work; children enjoying books from the school library together as they wait for their lifts at the school gate; teenagers glued to the next chapter of a story on their cellphones as they walk down the road, and older people sitting on their front stoep reading the newspaper. And then, of course, reading at home too – family members reading in the morning and at night, together and on their own!

This is the kind of “reading world” that we’re aiming for − a world in which children and adults experience the joy and value of reading daily. A world in which our horizons widen as we connect with the experiences, ideas and stories of people, near and far, through their writing. And it’s all within our reach, as book by book, we enjoy reading together and encourage others to do so too.

Here are some of the ways you can contribute at home and at your reading club.

Read regularly. All you need is 15 minutes each day to read aloud to your children. Most children enjoy being read to just before bedtime, but it really doesn’t matter when you read books together each day – it’s doing it regularly and choosing books that you all enjoy that counts!

* Browse through books. Visit your local library or bookshop and discover the treasure trove of books there. Spend time looking at what’s available and reading to each other or alone.

* Suggest books. Talk to your children about which kinds of books they like – stories or information books – and what kind of stories they like: adventure stories, fantasy, true stories, stories about everyday life or ones with heroes and villains. Then help them find the ones they want, preferably in their home language/s.

Choose books. When they start to read on their own, help your children to choose interesting books that are not too difficult for them, so that they are able to have lots of successful reading experiences. Keep the more difficult books for you to read to them!

Make a date. Get together with friends and their children and spend time swapping stories, reading to each other – adults to children, children to children, and adults to adults – and talking about books and stories.

* Write a review. Encourage your children to write a book review of their favourite book and then display it for others to read, or send it to Nal’ibali to publish on our website. Email your reviews to us atletters@nalibali.org or post them to Nal’ibali, PRAESA, UCT, Private Bag, Rondebosch, 7701.