Children learn to read by reading! Although this sounds obvious, we often forget the age-old example: If you plant a seed, you must keep watering it so that it grows into a strong plant. It is the same with reading. Once the seed of reading has been planted, you need to nurture it so that their love of reading grows stronger.
Another important wisdom is that children learn to love reading by reading what they love. So, you’ll need to make sure that your reading club has lots of interesting things to read if you want to nurture children’s love of reading. Books are the most important resource for a reading club, but there are many other resources to use or adapt: posters, comics, greeting cards, magazines, newspapers and material from the Internet. With a little imagination and time, you can make any text into something fun to read! Here are some ideas to help you.
- Buy books. Organise events, like a braai or cake sale, to raise money to buy the books you want for your club. For more information on books suitable for different age groups and on different topics go to our Recommended Reads.
- Go bargain hunting. Try bargain bookshops, second-hand bookshops and charity book sales where the books are cheaper. Explain to the bookshop manager that your reading club needs books. Ask for a discount.
- Borrow books. Your local public library or school library are great sources of free reading resources. Get all the children and volunteers in your club to join the library so that you can borrow lots of different books. Check that your library stocks books in the languages of your members, or ask the librarian to order books in these languages. Remember to teach your members to treat library books with extra care so that they can be enjoyed by lots of other people! If your club is at a school without a library, contact Equal Education’s Bookery for help with setting up one (http://www.equaleducation.org.za or 021-3870022).
- Get books as gifts. Ask reading club members, family, friends and people you work with to donate a book to your club on their birthday.
- Find book donors. Some organisations donate books to reading clubs. For example, Biblionef South Africa donates children’s books in different languages (http://biblionefsa.org.za or 021-5310447). Ask all the schools in your area to collect books for your club. Remember to make sure that all donated books are appropriate for your members.
- Swap books. Link up with other reading clubs you know and arrange to exchange books with them for a while.
- Make books. Create your own bilingual books using the mini-book pages in the Nal’ibali newspaper supplements. You will find these in The Times (Gauteng, KZN and Western Cape), Daily Dispatch and The Herald (Eastern Cape). Or go the Resources section of our website to download them.
- Create story cards. Cut out the longer stories in the “Story corner” section of the Nal’ibali newspaper supplements. Many of these are in two parts. Paste each part onto either side of an A4 sheet of cardboard and cover this with plastic or place it in a plastic sleeve.
- Become story writers. Write your own stories for and with children. Children are a walking, talking resource, with their own rich stories just waiting to be told, written down and read.
- Be story miners. Look for stories in newspapers and magazines that you think would interest members of your reading club. Cut them out and use them to create story cards.