The wisest investment we can make in our children is to give them our time – to listen to them, to talk together and to do things together. All of these things happen quite naturally when we spend even a short time each day telling and reading stories together. When we share stories with children we help to expand their world and we build a firm foundation for their futures. How about investing in your children in some of these ways?
1. Read in their mother-tongue. Reading stories in your mother-tongue makes reading easier and more enjoyable. Try our growing collection of stories in a range of South African languages on the Nal’ibali website (www.nalibali.org) or mobisite (www.nalibali.mobi).
2. Read what they love. For children to love reading, and to want to read every day, they need to enjoy what they are reading! Some children may like real-life stories while others like fantasy. In fact, developing an interest in reading particular types of books is a sign that your child is maturing as a reader. So, whatever sparks their interest, let them read it!
3. Read printed books. Young children learn a great deal through their senses. It is therefore very important for them to have the experience of touching and holding printed books and turning their pages. After all, nothing beats the feeling of curling up together with a book.
4. Read together… or on their own. Choose books to read together that are slightly more advanced than the books your children are currently reading on their own. But, if children prefer to read on their own, encourage this as well. Take the time each week to talk about what they are reading.
5. Read on their cellphones. Twenty-nine million South Africans use cellphones! For older readers and teens, this technology is especially exciting, and being mobile means that they can read at any time − at home, or on the way to and from school. The FunDza mobisite has a growing mobi-library catering mainly for teens (http://fundza.mobi/). And for parents with children and babies, don’t forget to visit our reading and storytelling section for tips and ideas on reading with your little ones; as well as stories to share with them in 6 South African languages!
Whatever it takes, get your children reading every day and help them find material that interests them. Once you have helped them to unleash the power of reading in their lives, no one can take this magical gift away from them! Plus you’ll have the satisfaction of knowing that you have invested wisely in their futures.