I’m a self-confessed bibliophile. From science fiction to fantasy, a little romance and lots of mystery… I’ll even take on non-fiction if it looks good. The likes of Enid Blyton and Willard Price graced my bookshelves as a kid, to be replaced (eventually) by Meg Cabot and Gerald Durrell. Not to mention, of course, all of J.K. Rowling and J.R.R. Tolkien’s wonders.
And I can honestly, heartily, thank my dad for my invested interest (and my small, but growing library) in the world of literature. This is because he took bedtime as an opportunity to read aloud to me, drawing me in to the world of Enid Blyton’s Secret Seven, and the translated works of Joanna Spyri’s Heidi. It gave me the tools to see that behind every page lies a waiting adventure, hidden mysteries waiting to be uncovered.
On the 1st of February 2019, World Read Aloud Day will be celebrating its 10th year of existence. The initiative highlights the importance of reading aloud and sharing stories, and how the simple act of reading aloud benefits a child’s growing mind.
About 758 million people around the world are illiterate. According to the South African Government, our country’s literacy rate for individuals aged 15 to 34 years old, rests at over 90%, whilst adult literacy of individuals aged 35 to 64 years old, rests at about 80%.
This time-honoured tradition gives us not only the opportunity to bond with our parents during that critical age, but also the opportunity to grow our potential for later years and make us aware of how important and enjoyable reading really is.
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Not only does reading aloud help with language development and promoting early literacy skills like understanding how stories work and recognition of sounds and letters, it also encourages listening skills and vocabulary development.
On top of this, children that practice the act of reading aloud have a sense of boosted confidence, better memory development and, as a bonus, helps them cope better with anxiety and expand their world beyond that of what they see around them.
Unfortunately, surveys show that only about 50% of parents read to their kids on a daily basis, and less than 10% of parents read to their kids from the time that they are born.
The READ Educational Trust is a non-profit organisation that focuses on promoting literacy across South Africa, because while 90% of kids may be able to read, in 2016 it was revealed by the Progress In International Reading Literacy Study (PIRLS) that 78% of Grade 4 learners were unable to read for meaning in any language.
READ is has made READ ALOUD Magic Box Sets available, among other tools, which is aimed at encouraging children to read aloud and reap all the benefits that come with this activity.
Each of three box sets contains 12 beautifully designed books filled with enchanting, adventure-filled stories set in Africa, and revolve around children and animals discovering the world in which they live.
These sets are a priceless investment, not only in terms of serving to build your child’s vocabulary, but as far as spending quality time with your little ones goes. Set A is aimed at children aged 4 – 7; Set B is suited to kids aged 5 – 8 and Set C is for children aged 6 – 9. All three sets are available online at thereadshop.co.za.
All profits are put back into promoting literacy.