The Community Reading Team has been growing a network of community-based reading clubs in the villages in the Zithulele area. This June holiday, they ran some fun holiday reading clubs, where kids got to experience the joy of stories…
“Kheth’oyithanayo, khethoyithanda njengofish. Ndiyayifunda (x2), ndiyayifund’incwadi yam” (Choose a book you love, choose a book you love like fish).
This is one of the songs that echoed throughout the hills and spread across the different villages around Zithulele area outside Mqanduli. The June school holiday was not just another holiday to some children around Zithulele. It was an opportunity to get lost in the world of literature and words, games and songs and to have a chance to experience peer-to-peer education. Our team of Community Readers, known as ooNobalisa, were busy sparking children’s potential to read and write at community-based reading clubs they ran in 6 different villages around Zithulele. The enthusiasm from the team made everyone ignore the cold winter days and enjoy the opportunity.
We have 6 community-based reading clubs based in Ginyintsimbi, Putuma, Lubanzi, Xwangu (2 clubs) and Chibini. These reading clubs provide a platform for children to experience reading and learning outside of school. They are focused on reading for enjoyment and allowing children to write for real reasons without being marked right or wrong.
“Community-based reading clubs need to be taken seriously because it is a beginning and a foundation for literacy for these children. There are children who can already read and write before they even attend school. Reading clubs provide an opportunity for those who can read and write to teach those who can’t. Storytelling also helps them in developing vocabulary and listening skills,” explained Ezile (Nobalisa).
Reading clubs are not only about reading and writing, to some of the children it is where they get motivated to do better. “ I am really excited about these reading clubs because when the children are not in school it is easy for them to participate. Those learners who are shy to speak in front of a crowd get motivated and become confident to participate in activities,” said Jongi (Nobalisa).
Songs and games are part of the reading clubs because we want them to be more fun for children to enjoy. Storytelling seems to be everybody’s favourite part of reading clubs, from learners to ooNobalisa.
Axium director, Craig Paxton, also joined in the fun: “I loved visiting Sekiwe’s reading club. Bongeka’s story kept the 20+ children spellbound…and the reading box was opened (for the first time I think). It was awesome to see young children reading and looking at pictures together. I am so excited about the opportunities these clubs will bring to so many children and families in communities around Zithulele.”