Lead SALead SA

Editors Add their Voice to Campaign Aimed at Encouraging Reading

Written by: Sithandwa Ngwetsheni
Brett Horner, Editor of The Herald/Weekend Post

Catch Me Reading is aimed at encouraging adults and children to act as reading role models for each other, the national Nal’ibali reading-for-enjoyment campaign’s #CatchMeReading drive invites members of the public to submit photographs of themselves reading in public and in fun and creative ways.

Stopping to show their support for the initiative, editors of different Times Media titles submitted their own #CatchMeReading photographs along with words of encouragement to the children in the Nal’ibali network.

Times Media has been a partner of the Nal’ibali campaign since its inception in 2012 – carrying its bilingual reading-for-enjoyment supplement (the only resource of its kind in South Africa) in select newspapers titles as well as donating and delivering over 44 000 copies directly to more than 300 reading clubs, schools, libraries and literacy organisations that form part of Nal’ibali’s network, every other week during school term time.

Each supplement edition contains one to two new stories, related reading activities as well as information and tips for adults on sharing books and stories with children or starting or participating in reading clubs. It is also published in five different language combinations (English-isiXhosa, English-isiZulu, English-Sesotho, English-Afrikaans and English-Sepedi) to promote the development of multilingualism in SA.

“Exposing children to reading materials in their mother tongue is an essential tool to foster a love of reading from a young age. From printing Nal’ibali’s first supplement in just three languages in 2012 to the six languages that we are printing in today, as well as growing the reach of our distribution to include the rural school’s that make up Nal’ibali’s Story Powered Schools initiative in the Eastern Cape and KwaZulu-Natal, we are making phenomenal in roads in establishing a culture of reading in South Africa together and are only too happy to be ‘caught reading!"

Patti Mcdonald, Times Media Education Consultant

Editors participating in the drive include Abdul Milazi of Sunday World; Brett Horner of the Herald and Weekend Post; Sunday Times Book Editor, Jennifer Platt and BooksLive Editor, Mila de Villiers. The editors’ pictures and messages will be shared on the campaign’s social media platforms to inspire others to do the same.

“Read to learn. Read to understand. Read to think. Read to grow. But, whatever your motivation for picking up a book, never forget to read for pleasure. You’ll discover the infinite power of your own imagination."

Brett Horner, Editor of The Herald/Weekend Post

“Since I learnt to read, it has always been my go to place. It’s where I could find characters who were like me, and new characters that I would get to know. It helped to cope, to learn, to grow, to understand. Like CS Lewis said: ‘We read to know we are not alone."

Jennifer Platt, Book Editor of the Sunday Times

“I was raised by bibliophile parents who introduced me to books at a very young age, took me to the library every Saturday and encouraged me to read as widely as possible. I still remember the first ‘proper’ book I ever read by myself – the beautifully illustrated Ek sien die maan. At age six I tackled my first English book – Burger Cillié’s Mammal Guide of Southern Africa. (‘Ungulate’ was my favourite word for a loooong time after reading it.) I cannot stress the importance and necessity of instilling a love of books and reading in children enough; reading is the apex of educational escapism; reading is fun and informative; reading creates thinkers and dreamers. A book a day keeps the boredom away, ek sê.”

Mila de Villiers, Editor of BooksLive

“I grew up in the villages of Umzimkhulane and Bhobhoyi in Ugu, KwaZulu-Natal. Storybooks and reading gave me the wings to fly!”

Abdul Milazi, Sunday World Editor

Members of the public can post their own #CatchMeReading on the Nal’ibali Facebook page between Monday, 15 May and Friday, 19 May using the hashtag. The three photographs with the most ‘likes’ will win a hamper of books in the language/s of their choice.

For more information about the Nal’ibali campaign, or to access their growing collection of free children’s stories in a range of SA languages plus tips and ideas on how to read with children, visit www.nalibali.org or www.nalibali.mobi or join the conversation on Facebook and Twitter: @NalibaliSA.



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