National Reading Coalition expands access to indigenous storybooks during Mandela month

The National Reading Coalition (NRC) will this year celebrate Nelson Mandela Month through a nation-wide campaign with the aim to permeate a culture of reading for leisure across all walks of life. The NRC alongside the Department of Basic Education and the National Education Collaboration Trust, will provide 17 200 mother-tongue storybooks to learners and parents in efforts to create awareness about reading and expand access to storybooks in the nine indigenous languages in South Africa.

The world currently faces a reading challenge where children struggle to read for meaning – South Africa while being no exception – has the additional challenge of resource-poor communities associated with low parental literacy and insufficient exposure to reading books. Since inception in 2019, one of the fundamental principles of the NRC is to mobilise access to reading resources in communities where they are needed the most so that learners can read with understanding. To this effect, the NRC will embark on a roadshow in all nine provinces during Mandela Month to galvanise communities to ‘’drop all and read’’ through various activities.

The theme for Mandela Day 2022 is: “Do what you can, with what you have, where you are”, and the campaign will seek to bring to life this call by encouraging churches, communities and schools to drop all and read a book as a way to empower themselves. ‘’Reading is the most fundamental skill that learners need to achieve their full potential. It is empowering, it helps them to develop cognitively, it creates social cohesion and it’s enjoyable’, says NRC Project Manager Bailey Nkuna.

During Mandela month, the NRC and partners undertake numerous activities including to:
• Provide access to reading to 20 000 Foundation Phase learners across 9 home languages.
• Enable access to indigenous stories to 15 000 parents from 15 churches who will be able to read to their children at home.
• Equip 15 000 Reading Champions with access to storybooks on the NRC website and provide an opportunity to reach in excess of 2 million learners.
• Enable 40 people to access the Virtual Reading Club (VRC) books and participate in the VRC scheduled for the month of August

We invite you to also celebrate Nelson Mandela Day with us by donating any of your old storybooks, read aloud sessions with family and friends.