Nurturing a reading culture is unfortunately not a quick-fix approach. It is long-term and ongoing and needs to be continually fed as a child‘s love for reading develops. Once the culture has set in, however, this priceless skill will have a tremendous impact on a child’s academic development throughout their schooling years and beyond.
During August of 2016, SiyaSiza, the justice work of Connexions Church, Benoni, began a Reading Club Program in the under-resourced community of Chief Albert Luthuli. Since then it has attained a steady momentum with the children absolutely loving the program and the teachers are both enthusiastic and supportive. The purpose of this program is to plant the seed of loving books in children. We are targeting foundation phase learners (GrR – 3), so as to nurture “this reading culture” from the onset of a child’s academic development.
The Reading Club Program is divided into three segments:
- a before-story segment with an educational, gesture-filled and fun poem, song or rhyme
- a story segment that always done bilingually in isiZulu and English
- an after-story segment which consists of an art/craft activity linked to the story and before-story sessions, are primarily targeted at developing creative, cognitive and fine motor skills.
The before-story, story and after-story sessions have a common theme running through, which is always linked to a selected portion in the story. This ensures that a child gains a solid understanding of the story, whilst also developing other skills, namely: cognitive, creative, linguistic, fine motor and gross motor skills. The program is also incorporating of all the four learning styles in its delivery which are: visual, auditory, tactile and analytical. The merging-of-styles approach has been found to be very effective as it caters for the various learning styles of the children we are interacting with.
The Reading Club Program has been well received by Grade R learners and their teachers in the two schools they are working within and SiyaSiza plan to extend this program to the Grade 1 learners in one of the schools at the commencement of 2017.