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World Read Aloud Day: Celebrating the power of reading

There was the sound of happy, raised voices as learners at an Adopt-a-School Foundation school in Hammanskraal recited out loud from their favourite books.

World Read Aloud Day has special meaning for Lot Phalatse Primary School in the North West, where a literacy and numeracy programme has been taking place since October 2022, funded by Sasria SOC Ltd as part of the AAS Whole School Development (WSD) programme. WSD aims to effect change across the school spectrum and provide an environment conducive to teaching and learning.

AAS chief executive officer Steve Lebere: “The literacy programme at Lot Phalatse focuses on educator development and classroom support for foundation phase. Built around providing techniques that make teaching literacy easier all round, the programme is benefitting eight educators and 405 learners. One of the reasons we, and the world at large, celebrate World Read Aloud Day, is that it is well documented that reading aloud helps promote literacyand fosters a love of reading inchildren and adults alike.”

AAS, a partner entity of the Cyril Ramaphosa Foundation, creates an ecosystem that encourages reading for both pleasure and the gleaning of information and knowledge. With its vision of creating dynamic, transformed and accessible schooling environments, AAS hopes its WSD model goes beyond academic programmes.

Said Lebere: “World Read Aloud Day celebrates the power of reading aloud and is meant to encourage children and adults to find a book they like and read aloud to a chosen audience.”

The event, founded in 2010 by the non-profit organisation LitWorld, is now celebrated by over 173 countries around the world.

As Margaret Fuller, a 19th century American journalist, said: “Today a reader, tomorrow a leader.”

The premise that readers make leaders comes from the belief that reading gives the reader a glimpse into other people’s experiences, views and attitudes, and so allows them to explore their own. This expands the readers ability to see beyond just what they think, to make well-informed decisions that take into account other perspectives, as well as a host of views, thoughts and ideas.

Joseph Marema, the school principal of Lot Phalatse Primary School, said, “We are excited to have the literacy programme at our school. We have learned extensively about the importance of reading and its role in developing the mind and gaining knowledge. As a result, we have introduced a drop everything and read period that takes place once a week to encourage reading for the entire school, including teachers and me. We have also developed reading clubs across all grades and allocated a 30-minute reading slot in our Monday and Friday assemblies. The reading activities will boost the confidence and instil the culture of reading in our learners, as we also have a Q&A session after a read.

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