With the 8th of September having marked International Literacy Day and South Africans being urged to read books, surveys still reflect that literacy for children, youth and adults is still an unaccomplished goal.
According to data released by the UNESCO Institute for Statistics, literacy rates for adults and youth continue to rise. The study illustrated that there was a total of 51% in 2006 and 58% in 2016 of South African households that did not own a single leisure book. Only 14 percent of South Africans are active book readers and a mere five percent of parents are reading to their children.
With Literacy Day coinciding with South Africa's National Book Week, Coronation Fund Managers maintains the sentiment that, it takes a village to raise a child, and having implemented a rounded approach to helping children not only by supporting and mentoring them, but also inspiring their parents, teachers, principals and community leaders to work together in uplifting the lives of learners.
To drive literacy at grassroots level, Coronation Fund Managers recently established two new Reading Adventure Rooms as part of its initiative to bolster literacy among learners in Grade R to Grade 3. The project involves the training of teachers and implementing a successful language educational programme in the foundational phase. This year, some 7,500 learners are expected to benefit from the programme, which was launched seven years ago.
Coronation also sponsors the transformation of classrooms, with murals and equipment, to create stimulating learning environments. These classrooms have become the dwelling of imagination and escapism for the children, who are from unsafe communities. More than two dozen schools are currently part of the programme, which is managed by one of our NGOs, Living Through learning. Most recently, Reading Adventure Rooms have been established at VRT Pitt and Bontebok Primary Schools in Swellendam.
“Acquiring good reading skills in the foundational phase is critical to academic success later on in school. Without it, learners struggle to progress.
"We believe that helping children to read and write well will assist them in unlocking both South Africa’s and the youth’s own educational potential,” says Coronation.
In the words of the much-admired Ghanaian diplomat, Kofi Annan, “Literacy is a tool for daily life in a modern society. It is a bulwark against poverty, and a building block of development, an essential complement to investments in roads, dams, clinics and factories.
"Literacy is a platform for democratisation, and a vehicle for the promotion of cultural and national identity - especially for the youth. For everyone, everywhere, literacy is, along with education in general, a basic human right. Literacy is, finally, the road to human progress and the means through which every man, woman and child can realise his or her full potential.”
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