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Literacy Blog

Reading to young children: The cognitive benefits

Posted on
June, 16th 2015
With US paediatricians now prescribing reading with children as part of their essential care,  Malini Mohana speaks with local experts to see how they think the power of stories can shape children’s social, cognitive and emotional wellbeing. Storytelling is the primal way in which human beings organise and compartmentalise their experiences. We’re not just narrators of things that happen around us; we’re also the narrators...
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Calling on dads to pass on a love of reading this Father's Day

Posted on
June, 15th 2015
They're just words on a page, but books can take you places and open up worlds of wonder, enlightenment, and imagination for your children. This June Gus Silber reflects on the role his own father played in shaping his future through books and stories and the power of parents to pass this important tradition on. I grew up in a house without walls, and a...
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Globalisation and the importance of multi-ethnic stories

Posted on
June, 14th 2015
Kgebetli Moele, a South African writer best known for his novels, Room 206, UNTITLED, and The Book of the Dead, writes about the effects of globalisation and the importance of engaging with our stories in this multi-faceted country: There was a man who once wrote a book and titled it Cry the Beloved Country, and then another man, amazed by our fake selves, said: “Oh! But...
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Telling stories from the heart

Posted on
June, 14th 2015
Acclaimed South African storyteller, poet, praise singer and actress, Andrea Dondolo speaks to us about the importance of storytelling mothers: Imagine the scene: It’s that magical and haunting time of day – sunset! Can you hear them? Listen carefully… Stories are like a thumping heart, begging to be allowed to live. Providing a pulse to humanity, our senses come alive with storytelling, and, like animals...
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Why South African authors need to tackle taboo topics

Posted on
June, 14th 2015
Nakanjani Sibiya is an award-winning author of a number of IsiZulu books across various genres. Contributing most significantly the short story category, his works often reflect the people of his rural KwaZulu-Natal hometown, depicting their sense of humour, despair, triumph and determination to survive. In this piece, Sibiya tackles just how crucial it is for South African writers to take on uncomfortable and taboo topics: Writers...
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Building bridges with books

Posted on
June, 14th 2015
Born in the Eastern Cape, Sonwabiso Ngcowa is an emergent young author. Passionate about literature and social development, he uses writing and stories to uplift those around him. In this article, Ngcowa explores how reading and books bridges a divide between all cultures: With life being as busy as it is in the modern world, our opportunities to meet new people and connect with each other...
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In praise of reading aloud

Posted on
June, 14th 2015
South African author Linda Rode is well known in the children’s book world as an avid collector and lover of fairytales.  Having authored three prize-winning children’s books of her own, compiled and contributed to a further twelve children’s anthologies and translated numerous of books and stories for children, her storytelling style is perfect for reading aloud: Since it’ll be three to four years before the...
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How family storytelling helps us grow

Posted on
June, 14th 2015
Award-winning SA author, Maxine Case, reflects on the role of intergenerational storytelling in preserving family history and supporting children’s literacy development:  During the school holidays my sisters and I would join our cousins at our grandmother’s house. With ten children underfoot, Ma had little time to devote to any of us, but she was fond of me. Like her, I was a bookworm. Ma knew...
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A conversation to expand mother tongue thought horizons

Posted on
June, 14th 2015
Phiwayinkosi Mbuyazi is igniting the minds of teenagers and contributing to the advancement of South African indigenous languages through his translation of scientific books. In this process he has invented almost 500 new isiZulu words. Mbuyazi spoke to us about how the importance of nurturing mother tongue languages in the educational and academic world:   Of all the creatures in the animal kingdom we, the humans, are...
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Choosing books for children

Posted on
June, 14th 2015
Verushka Louw, a children’s bookseller who works at an independent bookshop in Cape Town (The Book Lounge), tells us how important it is to choose the right book at the right time for children: I was a library child. We moved around a lot when I was younger and I did not have many of my own books, so in each new town I soon...
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