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Get set up to read with your children and Nal'ibali in 2018

To help set up caregivers to read with their children in the new year, Nal’ibali – the national reading-for-enjoyment campaign – has compiled a special calendar highlighting some of the major literacy activities taking place in 2018. Complete with instructions on how to collect the cut-out-and-keep storybooks included in each edition of the campaign’s multilingual supplement, it will also assist young or new readers to collect and build their own mini-libraries over the course of the year.

“We’re excited about this resource, which we hope will help to promote a culture of reading-for-enjoyment in our country. Most South African families live beyond easy reach of a public library and very few households have their own collection of storybooks for children to read or choose from,” says Jade Jacobsohn, Managing Director at Nal’ibali. “By using the calendar as a guide, caregivers and teachers can help children collect 30 stories this year and create their own personalised story-powered book boxes to keep them in.”

Research shows that children who are exposed to books and stories in their home languages, and who are read to regularly and right from birth, do better than their peers in the classroom, regardless of their social standing or economic circumstances.

To increase access to stories and literacy materials in different SA languages, Nal’ibali donates and delivers over 100 000 copies of its supplement to schools, libraries, reading clubs and fellow literacy organisations every second week during school term time. Members of the public can find copies in selected newspaper titles, or download them directly from the Nal’ibali website.

Created in partnership with the award-winning literacy organisation, PRAESA (the Project for the Study of Alternative Education in South Africa), the stories carried in the supplement are selected to promote and support South African authors and illustrators, and to expose children to a variety of different language and drawing styles. Stories are reproduced free of charge with special permission from the publishers and translated by PRAESA.  

Currently the supplement is published in six different language combinations including English-isiZulu, English-isiXhosa, English-Afrikaans and English-Sepedi, and this year the campaign is excited to be adding Xitsonga and Setswana to this list from April.

“There is a need for collective action in motivating SA children to read, and it needs to be consistent. However small adults and caregivers may think this simple activity is, regularly spending time reading and sharing stories with children can have a massive and cumulative impact – helping them to reach their life potential,” concludes Jacobson.

To encourage continued reading throughout the year, Nal’ibali will be awarding spot prizes of additional books in a range of SA languages to readers who share pictures of their growing libraries on its Facebook page and Twitter feed (@NalibaliSA).

Nal’ibali supplements can be found in the Tiso Blackstar newspapers listed below, or downloaded directly from the Nal’ibali website ( where copies of the calendar can also be accessed.

  • KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng: Sunday World – Sunday (English/isiZulu)
  • Free State:  Sunday World – Sunday (English/Sesotho)
  • Limpopo: Sunday World – Sunday (English/Sepedi)
  • Western Cape – Sunday Times Express – Sunday (English/isiXhosa)
  • Eastern Cape – Daily Dispatch -  Tuesday (English/isiXhosa)
  • Eastern Cape – The Herald – Thursday (English/isiXhosa)


For more information about the Nal'ibali reading-for-enjoyment campaign, free children's stories in a range of SA languages, tips on reading and writing with children, details on how to set up a reading club or to request training, visit, or find them on Facebook and Twitter: nalibaliSA 

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