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by Victor Mphela : Manager COJ Library Programs

Joburg libraries continue to expand the reading development programs to different schools, to ensure that libraries are part of the solution in addressing Literacy challenges in South Africa.

 “Research conducted by Progress in International Reading Literacy Study (PIRLS) conducted in 2021 revealed that 81% of learners in South Africa cannot read for meaning in any of the country’s official languages.    It further indicated that South Africa ranked last out of the 57 countries assessed in terms of reading ability of students.  The City’s Library and Information Services acknowledge the challenges of historical imbalances and lack of suitable reading materials in schools, hence the introduction of reading development programmes with a number of schools in Johannesburg.   It is found that children who are solid readers perform better in school, have a healthy self-image, and become lifelong learners.  Developmental programmes and activities such as the Battle of the Books and Story Skirmish Reading Development programmes are delivered by the City of Joburg Public Libraries to increase literacy levels of learners, build confidence, create competitiveness; and efficacious living in a SMART economy and a city characterized by social inclusivity with enhanced quality of life” says Nobuntu Mpendulo, Director of Joburg Public Library Services.

Joburg reading development programs are part of hybrid library services where technology is also recognized as a tool to develop a love for reading, but traditional ways of reading are equally important, especially for learners who do not have access (to) or skills to use technology. These traditional reading development programmes are competitive book-based inter-school, knock-out quizzes for learners from Grades 4 – 7.  This year saw 87 schools participating in the Story Skirmish , which is about reading selected books aimed at Grades 4 &5, reaching 696 learners. The Battle of the Books, aimed at Grades 6&7, had 90 schools with 720 learners participating.

The competition will reach its peak on 1 and 2 November 2023 at the finals and prize-giving ceremonies scheduled to take place from 09:00 – 13:00 at the Brixton Multipurpose Centre. Congratulations to the following schools that are going through to the finals:

Story Skirmish: Midrand Primary, Mikateka, Primary, Rosettenville Primary, G.R Harris

Battle of the Books: Basa Primary, Franklin D Primary, Crown Reef Primary, Zithathele Primary.

Good Luck to all the young readers!!

Enquiries: Victor Mphela 061 415 1302

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