For 33 years the Read Educational Trust has been dedicated to fighting illiteracy in South Africa. In 1988 the organisation introduced Readathon, a dynamic marketing tool that has gone from strength to strength.
"This year the campaign evolved to include a number of highly innovative activities which really captured the imagination of the young and eager to read. The 2012 Readathon, which ran from July to September, has proved to be successful yet again," says Bertus Matthee, Read's managing director.
Central to the 2012 campaign was a handbook that encouraged teachers to run their own literacy activities by providing them with a selection of stories, quotations, slogans, competitions and posters. It also included a variety of writing frames, examples and illustrations. While 4 000 handbooks were distributed to schools nationally, the handbook could also be downloaded from the Read website in three booklet formats.
Reading Starz Forum
Another innovation was the Reading Starz Forum. Held monthly, youngsters learned how to start and maintain book clubs and interact with celebrity guest speakers with whom they shared experiences and their views on books. They were also encouraged to submit book reviews, which were published on Read's website, and to participate in reading-orientated competitions.
Those who submitted book reviews were invited to participate in two mind-stretching workshops conducted by Readathon ambassadors. One was on drama and script writing, which was hosted by Hlubi Mboya and Grethe Fox; the other was on poetry and writing, which was conducted by Ntsiki Mazwai.
In September there were school visits by Readathon ambassadors which were for Grade 3 and 4 school pupils. The first, by Hlubi Mboya, was to Protea South Primary School in Soweto; the other, by Ntsiki Mazwai, was to Kwa Duka Thole Secondary School in Kathlehong on the East Rand.
To celebrate World Literacy Week, another exciting event was held - this time at the Johannesburg City Library on 7 September. The 'flash mob' was a highlight of the Readathon campaign, with the presence of ambassadors, Hlubi Mboya and Thabo Tholo, who read to the youngsters and, in turn, encouraged them to read.
There was a most rewarding attendance with 130 children from Protea South Primary School, Giyani Primary School, Leratong Primary School, Mbuyisa Makhubo Primary School (all in Soweto), Albert Street (Johannesburg central), and Kwa Duka Thole Secondary School (East Rand).
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