Observed globally on 23 April 2019, World Book day encourages everyone, in particular, young people, to discover the pleasure of reading. However, many of South Africa’s children are struggling to read.
According to the recent Progress in International Reading (PIRLS) report, South Africa has the lowest score in reading of the 50 countries tested.
What is more concerning is that the study found South African children experience the highest incidences of bullying.
“Schools need to be safe spaces for children to learn as education is the greatest tool to overcome socio-economic issues such as unemployment and poverty. With an ailing education system that is struggling to support under-resourced communities, civil society has risen to the multiple challenges to ensure no child is left behind,” said Dee Boehner, founder and national coordinator of Kidz2Kidz, a children’s non-profit organisation.
Kidz2Kidz recently launched Storyweavers – a literacy and anti-bullying project aimed at developing reading hubs in classrooms across South Africa. The anti-bullying workshops called Cool2beKind not only aim to educate and create awareness, but to also provide resources to those who are victims of bullying.
“Our vision is to encourage the joy of reading from a young age and creating safe spaces within our schools. We do this by providing reading hubs to learners in the foundation phase, as well as providing training to teachers to empower learners to create their own safe spaces as well as harness the power of reading,” said Boehner.
Storyweavers reading hubs are a safe space for children to retreat and uncover a love for books. Teachers and children from impoverished communities are presented with a beautiful new reading corner from Kidz2Kidz, complete with a mat, cushions, storage box, peace bench, bookshelf and books.
Books in the children’s home languages will be included so that children can learn to read in their mother tongue.
With resources and funds being an ongoing challenge for non-profit organisations, Kidz2Kidz urges corporates as well as the public to get in touch should they wish to sponsor a reading hub.
“Reading builds imagination and is an important contributor to a successful education – which is ultimately the key to ending poverty.”