Pupils in the intermediate phase from various schools in Komani were part of the annual World Read Aloud Day celebrations at Skweyiya Hall in Mlungisi on Tuesday.
Librarian Tembela Mashiya said the education department, together with Enoch Mgijima Local Municipality libraries section worked together to promote the importance of reading. Mashiya read a story to the primary school pupils and allowed the children to engage in a question and answer session. “The children were very attentive, they followed instructions and I could see they enjoyed the discussion.” Mashiya, whose duty was to also encourage library visits, said the local libraries were faced with a challenge of book theft and the removal of pages from books. “The internet is also a challenge but we are working on providing this service free of charge for community members. We do encourage young people to visit the local libraries.”
Department of education Chris Hani west curriculum management centre, senior education specialist Gaynor Rittles said the focus was to instil a culture of reading at a young age. “We are making use of the stories of Nal’ibali. The programme cultivates a culture of reading. When you read you become an informed person, you are able to communicate and you gain a lot of knowledge about life, the environment and the community. Good readers become good leaders,” she said.
“Nali’Bali means that it all begins with a story, it is education through stories. Whenever there is a story there is a message. It is a fun way of learning.”
Louis Rex primary School teacher Ntomboxolo Mgambi said: “We noticed that pupils were struggling with reading. If they cannot read they will not be able to write. English home and additional language teachers were invited so that the librarian could capacitate us with skills to impart to these young people. Our schools are overcrowded so it becomes difficult to focus on the children individually. At my school we have a reading session every morning from Mondays to Thursdays to identify those who are struggling.” Mgambi also encouraged parental involvement, stating that the lack thereof was a problem.
Grade 6 St Theresa’s Primary School pupil Laytinn Brecht said she learned about the dangers of talking to strangers and that reading was an important skill. “We were also told to always listen to our parents,” she said confidently.