Telling stories is the first step to literacy development.
We are all inherently storytellers. The way we understand ourselves, our place in the world, and our identities - and this starts from birth.
As soon as children start to verbalise their thoughts,
they’re telling stories, and it is these stories that shape the way your child
will later understand words.
Dr Kirsty Donald, Senior Specialist at the Division of
Developmental Paediatrics at University of Cape Town, agrees that storytelling
at home can be of great benefit to children’s development in the South African
"The role of storytelling cuts across cultures.
"It is up to the parents to provide an
environment where engaging with written material is encouraged.
to language in cultural context grounds them in their cultural narrative.
on in the school environment, it manifests in increased vocabulary, and most
"Learning to read and comprehend is
hard work! If you expose children to it with a level of excitement, and support,
it builds their confidence and their motivation to learn later on," she explains.
Dr. Donald also
points out that she believes there are significant differences between learning
to read at school and reading at home with one’s parents:
paediatrics, if you start early with developing patterns, you embed these
patterns or habits in the long term."
This means that
real literacy is not about teaching children to read in the systematic way.
Often, when it comes to problems with literacy, children are struggling with
the mechanistic aspects of reading – vocabulary, sentence structure and so on.
But very young children experience books differently.
It’s important to reading
to them frequently, and getting across the idea of what it means to
tell a story, rather than seeing reading as a chore.
This way children learn to
understand, question and comprehend, which is the foundation for learning.
become receptive readers.
simple act of telling a story has the power to kick-start literacy development
in young minds.
This means all adults can set children on the path to
literacy by sharing tales with them.
Whether you’re a parent, caregiver, doting
family member, teacher, librarian or simply enjoy spreading the joy of stories,
you have the power to set children on the path to reading for enjoyment.
Nal’ibali has over 800 reading clubs in seven provinces, run by every day
heroes who have spun magic with books and stories.
If you would like to be a
part of this growing spirit of activism, join the Nal’ibali FUNDA Leader
All you have to do is sign up on their website, and you’ll be connected to a family of FUNDA Leaders who strive
to make a difference in children’s lives!
For more information about Nal’ibali’s FUNDA Leader reading
revolution, as well as reading tips and stories in a range of South African
languages, visit www.nalibali.org, www.nalibali.mobi or find them on Facebook
and Twitter: nalibaliSA.