Nal'ibali, the Project for the Study of Alternative Education's (PRAESA) reading-for-enjoyment campaign, has been awarded the Best Contribution to Language Development prize at the annual Western Cape Cultural Affairs Awards.
A national campaign aimed at sparking children's potential through storytelling and reading, Nal'ibali was praised for its work in the Western Cape in the field of multilingualism and mother tongue literacy promotion.
Initiated by PRAESA, which is affiliated to UCT, Nal'ibali creates public awareness about the critical link between reading for pleasure and children's educational success. The campaign aims to provide the optimal conditions for learning, both inside and outside of school, that motivate children to read and write in African languages as well as English.
"We are proud to receive this acknowledgement from the Department of Cultural Affairs and Sport. Without an amazing team of inspired and hardworking colleagues, we could not do what we do," commented Carole Bloch, PRAESA director, who accepted the award with colleague, Malusi Ntoyapi.
"We hope this accolade will inspire further support of our campaign, allowing us to grow our work not only in the Western Cape, but across the country, because, the reality is that many children miss out on regular informal encounters with books, particularly in their home languages, and reading regularly to children in their mother tongue provides a strong foundation, not just for learning to read, but for all learning," said Ntoyapi, the campaign's programme support officer.
Since its establishment two and a half years ago, Nal'ibali has published over 130 children's stories in a range of SA languages with a primary focus on English, Afrikaans, isiXhosa, isiZulu and Sesotho. Many of these stories were published in African mother-tongue languages for the first time and appeared in its weekly bilingual reading-for-enjoyment supplement – the only bilingual literacy resource of its kind in the country.
With 83 editions published to date, Nal'ibali and media partner Times Media have donated and delivered over two million free copies directly to its network of over 300 reading clubs as well as libraries, schools, early childhood development centres and other literacy-related organisations across South Africa.
The stories are also freely available on the campaign's web and mobi-sites, accompanied by information-sharing articles for parents and caregivers on reading, writing and storytelling with children. These articles are pioneering the guidelines for reading-for-enjoyment and developing young children's literacy in home languages.
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