Western Cape celebrates International Literacy Day
Statement by Minister David Maynier, Minister of Education Western Cape
International Literacy Day is celebrated today around the world. This year’s theme is Transforming Literacy Learning Spaces, inviting us to consider the fundamental importance of literacy learning spaces in the wake of a pandemic that has resulted in many children across the world not returning to school.
We have highlighted the specific impact that the Covid-19 pandemic has had on our Foundation Phase learners, especially in their Reading scores. We must reverse the learning losses that our youngest learners have experienced, and one of the ways we are doing so is by allocating two extra hours to reading in Grades 1 to 3 every week.
This week we also celebrate National Book Week, which runs from 5 to 11 September. Our Foundation Phase curriculum team put together a daily plan of activities for schools to follow in English, Afrikaans and Xhosa. The activities range from reading a story about animals and then making masks from the characters, to dressing up and reading their favourite stories to their fellow learners.
Our schools and districts are buzzing with events. The Overberg Education District’s mobile libraries will be visiting rural schools to ensure that learners have access to books. The district is the only one in the country to boast a mobile library for every circuit. Schools benefit by receiving a visit every two weeks. Learners can then choose books themselves or teachers can take out a block loan.
The district will also celebrate with a handover of Library books to the value of R20 000 to BF Oosthuizen Primary School in Barrydale – made possible by the generous sponsorship of SANLAM Connect.
The Eden and Central Karoo Education District office will be having various readings today to highlight the importance of reading to staff members, and the District Director will be visiting a school to read to learners. Schools in the district will also be holding spelling bees, having guests reading to learners, and making bookmarks to recognise the importance of reading.
Schools have also invited guests to read, along with a range of activities in the Cape Winelands Education District. Making masks and dressing up have proved to be very entertaining, and learners have also taken advantage of sunny weather to read outdoors.
The two staff competitions taking place in West Coast Education District have yielded some of the best photos we have seen so far from Book Week. The “PRINCIPALS FOR READING” competition challenged our principals to promote reading in a unique way, and the “MAKE READING COME ALIVE!” encouraged teachers to show how they make reading come alive in their class through dressing up, using puppets, or any other creative ways.
Mobile library carts will be handed over to Academia Primary School and Parkdene Primary School today, in collaboration with MANCOSA. The Metro East Education District also sent a Book Week letter to all schools to encourage them to participate in various literacy activities.
Schools in the Metro South Education District kicked off Book Week early! Sonwabo Primary School started activities off a literacy day, spelling bee, reading competition, poetry reading and dramatization integrating Music and the Arts. Grade 7 learners will also be reading to Grade 1 learners at primary schools in the district.
Two competitions have taken place in the Metro Central Education District: an Essay Writing Competition for Grades 4 to 7, and a Book Display Challenge. Both competitions were held in English, Afrikaans, and Xhosa. The prizegiving will be held on 17 September 2022.
Metro North Education District is holding a book drive with the goal of collecting 600 books to share with schools that want to upgrade their book corners and libraries. The district is also using the slogan of "Drop All and Read". When learners hear the phrase, they stop everything they are doing and read for a few minutes.
In fact, the whole of September is considered Literacy Month, so events will continue throughout the month.
The Cape Teaching and Leadership Institute is in on the fun too, with staff and participants of the Grade 4 to 9 Writing workshop currently underway dressing up as their favourite literary character today. The CTLI’s training programme throughout the year includes courses on teaching reading, and EDULIS – the WCED’s Education Library and Information Service – is on hand to provide a library and information service, support for school libraries, and guidance in Information Literacy Skills.
Parents are encouraged to get involved too. The message of Team READ is that we all have a role to play in raising a generation of readers. A love of reading is the best gift you can give your child, and will ensure that they succeed in future learning.
Don’t know where to get started? Visit https://wcedeportal.co.za/wced-eportal-online-library for resources to improve your child’s reading.
Spokesperson to Minister David Maynier
Western Cape Ministry of Education