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Being told stories and being read to leads children to develop the rich storehouse of language, grammar and vocabulary they need to bring to texts when learning to read and write. 
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Thamsanqa Makayi’s Family Story

When I was really young my grandmother used to tell me lots of stories.  The stories were about our environment and really made us laugh.  We really liked these stories, I always imagined that she was talking about someone else, but the stories she told were actually disciplining us and teaching us how to take care of ourselves. Nowadays, those same stories are being written down and read, which is really mind-boggling! It’s great!

When I was growing up, I loved a really popular series about animals, the main character was a jackal. These stories made me love the jackal, but made fear lions and snakes! The jackal was always the clever one, much more so than the wolf and the other animals.  In one story my grandmother told me, the jackal goes to steal from the farm, the other animals just eat and eat without considering how they are going to escape, but the jackal was a smart animal and was never caught.

I wanted to be smart in life like the jackal!