Ramona Kock, storievoorleser by Pescodia Primêr in Kimberley, bied ʼn storiesessie in die buitelug aan.

The SBA’s Zoë reading project has been sharing the joy of reading with children for a decade. The young sisters of Zoar, Zoë and Nasia Davids’ love of reading and their desire to be able to share books with friends during their own story sessions was at the time the seed from which this flagship project of the SBA developed.

The project aims to encourage the reading-for-enjoyment experience among young children through reading. Involved schools get the opportunity to train community members as story readers, who then come to share the joy of books weekly through interactive reading sessions.

Story readers’ initiatives to adapt to Covid-19 challenges over the past year have stunned us. Groups presented outdoors during favorable weather conditions not only reduced safety risks, but in a mostly stressful school day provided variety and created a space for relaxation during story sessions.

Ramona Kock, story reader at Pescodia Primary in Kimberley, presents a storytelling session outdoors.

Extra effort with props and the creation of a fantasy world also helped to divert attention from the fact that in most cases learners could not exchange their clinical school desks for the intimate space of the mat.

  • Chakwanda Mahongo (unkXunkhwesa Combined School, Platfontein) unlocks the wonderful world of stories during his lecture.
  • Donelle and Charney van der Linde are used by story reader Malony Malgas (Venus Primary, Kimberley) to colour the stories with hand puppets.
  • Despite the fact that in many cases learners had to sit at their tables during story time, Viola Swartz shows how she could still conjure up a fantasy world at Idas Valley Primary with illustrations and dramatisation.

During the project mine this year, a total of 2531 learners were able to form part of story sessions presented by 50 story readers at primary schools in the Cape metro, the Deep South of the Cape, Laingsburg area, Bitou municipality, Stellenbosch and also Kimberley on a weekly basis.

The project was concluded as usual this year with a certificate ceremony during which participants receive recognition for continued enthusiastic participation and compassion.

  • Celestine Lourens during the certificate ceremony with one of her story groups at Paul Greyling Primary in Fish Hoek.
  • Story reader Astrid Williams hands over a certificate to Quade Bengtson, a keen reader of Pniel Primary.

A book visit to Bersheba

On October 12, the SBA had the privilege of hosting a reading workshop for members of the community in Bersheba outside Kirkwood at the invitation of veteran actress Thoko Ntshinga. The ultimate goal is to set up a local story club to encourage a love of reading among the community’s children and ultimately contribute to the overall quality of literacy. The diverse language community of the area also creates a wonderful space within which learners can develop an appreciation for our multilingual society.

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