Reading from heart: At the SDU's Reading Festival prize-giving ceremony, Jeremy Cronin reads one of the poems he wrote while in prison.
The message at the Schools Development Unit's (SDU) Reading Festival is categorical - reading is critical for intellectual growth.
The festival, in its third year, is the language component of the SDU's Maths and Science Education Programme (MSEP), and aims to promote reading among learners. It is a response to earlier findings that attributed poor maths and science results to poor English-language proficiency.
In this Reading Festival, the SDU runs programmes at three Dinaledi schools - Harry Gwala, Sophumelela and Thandokhulu high schools (Dinaledi is a government project aimed at increasing access to maths and science in underprivileged schools.)
More than 100 learners took part in activities such as poetry readings, writing book reviews, essays and speeches, as well as designing posters.
At the Reading Festival's annual prize-giving ceremony recently, Sizwe Mbatha, a teacher at Thandokhulu, noted that the festival has encouraged learners to read more, giving them an upper hand over those who did take part.
"The festival has also made learners more knowledgeable, good writers, and has helped them to talk more freely in English," Mbatha added.
Jeremy Cronin, deputy minister of transport, recalled how reading helped him, from when his mother and grandmother read novels to him, to when he read the Bible and other books in prison.
"Reading gives you information, and information gives you power," he said.
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