This World Book Day, 23 April 2015, the Nal’ibali reading-for-enjoyment campaign is launching a special children’s literacy rights poster to assert and affirm for children what they need to become inspired and competent readers and writers. Endorsed by the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), The International Board on Books for Young People (IBBY International), The South African Book Development Council / National Book Week, The Publishers Association of South Africa (PASA), the Little Hands Trust, and PEN South Africa, the poster forms part of the campaign’s mission to deepen a culture of reading in the everyday lives of South Africans.
“Many organisations and communities across South Africa are aware of the fundamental challenge we all face in bringing joy and meaning to print in South African languages to all our children – including the very youngest,” comments Carole Bloch, Director of PRAESA (The Project for the Study of Alternative Education in South Africa), which is driving the Nal’ibali campaign. “At Nal’ibali, we believe all children can grow up to be powerful readers and writers and we hope to further empower them with this guide,” Bloch continues.
The poster has been developed to further the impact of PRAESA’s 2014 Charter of Children’s Literacy Rights, which helps adults to put in place the conditions and resources children need to become fully literate. More than 14 000 copies of the charter were distributed to reading clubs, libraries, schools and other literacy organisations across the country last year.
This year, the campaign has committed to creating an awareness among children themselves about powerful ways they can experience the written word, regardless of their background and languages, as well as the role they can play in this process. As such, the poster uses child-friendly language and its eight short messages are brought to life with scenes depicting the Nal’ibali family of characters created by renowned illustrator, Rico.
“The poster is available in all 11 South African languages to ensure ease of access to the content, and to affirm the equal importance of all languages for literacy development,” adds Arabella Koopman, Nal’ibali Content Development Manger.
Examples of children’s literacy rights:
- To listen to hundreds and even thousands of stories, and tell your own stories too
- To use your own languages and learn other languages
- To talk about stories and books with friends, families and teachers.
To ensure the poster reaches as many children as possible, a copy has been published in the Nal’ibali reading-for-enjoyment supplement, available in select Times Media newspapers and distributed for free to over 300 schools, reading clubs, literacy NGOs and libraries in six provinces. Partners such as fellow literacy organisation, Biblionef, and children’s networks including Giving Hope to Children of South Africa (CHOSA), the Desmond Tutu Foundation and the Centre for Early Childhood Development in Cape Town, along with members of the Book Sellers Association, have also come on board to distribute the poster to children in their networks. Copies in all languages will also be free to download from the Nal’ibali website from World Book Day onwards.
And, to celebrate the launch, Nal’ibali will be hosting a series of book parties at reading clubs across the country. Inviting children from the surrounding communities to join them for an afternoon of books and stories, Nal’ibali will be giving away copies of the poster as well as age and language appropriate books to their young guests and regular members.
Local author and storyteller, Zanele Ndlovo, children’s television presenter, Karabo Bonco, and narrators of the Nal’ibali storytime slots on Umhlobo Wenene, Ukhozi FM, Thobela and Lesedi FM radio stations will give surprise visits at the parties, sharing their own favourite stories and the role books and stories have played in their lives. Joining them, Emile Jansen, AKA Emile YX?, a break-dancer, hip-hop pioneer, activist and writer, will be speaking to teens to encourage them to act as reading role models for their younger brothers and sisters.
“The fact that PRAESA has recently been honoured as the Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award Laureate for 2015 puts the global spotlight on South Africa and gives weight to the language and literacy work we do in collaboration with many others. With the deep and damaging societal schisms we need to address, it’s urgent that children have all the opportunities possible to develop as highly literate, critical and empathetic people. Sharing this poster is a step in this direction,” concludes Bloch.