Pre-schools and schools around SA are closed as the nation bunkers down for the 21-day coronavirus lockdown. But this has left many parents tearing their hair out as to how to keep the kids occupied and learning.
Help is at hand as Nal’ibali – the national reading-for-enjoyment campaign – has put together a free support package with story and activity guides, audio and written stories as even a virtual reading club during lockdown.
Nal’ibali chief operating officer Katie Huston concedes the lockdown is a challenge for many families but says it also brings an opportunity for reading.
Reading is paramount to a child’s success during lockdown
“Children who grow up with a strong culture of reading in the home are better set up for success in school and life – and our new reality means families have more time to create new habits, like reading aloud every evening before bed.
“Routine and predictable activities can give children a lot of comfort in difficult times and is a wonderful way to bond.”Katie Huston
Activities like independent reading, writing and drawing, are other good ways to keep kids occupied and make sure their education continues while at home.
The package is available to the public and includes:
· A new story three times a week via email or SMS;
· A short and detailed guide on helping children ;read and write at home; and
· A reading-for-enjoyment holiday programme guide with tips and ideas.
The package is available at www.nalibali.org, which also has a vast library of extra resources, including more than 800 stories, rhymes and songs, and storytelling ideas in the 11 official languages.
21 day challenge
Families are also encouraged to take part in Nal’ibali’s 21-day reading challenge which invites parents and caregivers to read with youngsters for 15 minutes or more a day.
Those who successfully complete a week could win book hampers and those who complete the full 21 days could win a mini library.
A fun progress chart is available for download on the website.
For the many SA families with limited internet access, Huston suggests tuning into SABC radio stations to listen to Nal’ibali stories in any of the official languages three times a week.
Here are some storytelling tips for parents: