This June, the Nal’ibali reading-for-enjoyment campaign is putting the spotlight on the power that fathers have to help nurture their children’s emotional and academic development, simply by reading and sharing stories with them on a regular basis. In collaboration with SAVF-FAMNET, the campaign is encouraging dads across South Africa to become active in their children’s literacy development through the annual Fathers' Story Week drive (14-21 June).
“We’ve known for a long time that fathers have an important role to play in the lives of their children and there is a solid and growing body of evidence that shows that their involvement matters,” comments Carole Bloch, Director of PRAESA (The Project for the Study of Alternative Education in South Africa), which is driving the Nal’ibali campaign. As noted by the media campaign, Front Page Fathers, the amount of time that dads spend with their children day to day has a greater effect on school marks than the amount of money they earn.
To practically show fathers across the country just how easy and fun it can be to share stories with their children, Nal’ibali is supporting SAVF-FAMNET by running a number of dad-related literacy activities in its network of 300 reading clubs. These activities will take place in the week leading up to Father’s Day on Sunday, 21 June, and are being supported by the campaign's special Father's Day edition of its bilingual reading-for-enjoyment supplement - which features tips for dads on how and why to connect with their children, as well as father-themed stories for dads and other male mentors or father figures to enjoy with the children in their lives.
“The educational value of fathers reading to children is absolutely crucial, but it has the added benefit of building a deep emotional bond between father and child. This bond secures a healthy emotional growth, which adds to the total well-being and increased development of the child – something we desperately need in this country,” comments Erna Rheede, SAVF-FAMNET Coordinator.
To help amplify the message, South African recording artist, TV and radio presenter and family man, ProVerb, is giving a special Father’s Day reading at Nal'ibali's Batsogile Primary School Reading Club in Soweto.
“It is imperative that father's read to their children and engage with them to stimulate their young minds. This is not only to bond with them, but also to awaken in them an appetite for reading and a hunger for knowledge. Books fuel imagination and stories ignite creativity, so as a father it's my duty and responsibility to empower my children,” he says.