National Literacy Month

National Literacy Month

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South Africa commemorates National Literacy Month in September as well as National Book Week from 3 – 9 September. It is an initiative of the South African Book Development Council (SABDC) in collaboration with the Department of Arts and Culture.

Reading statistics report that only 14% of the South African Population are active book readers, and a mere 5% of parents read to their children. National Book Week is an important initiative in encouraging the nation to value reading as a fun and pleasurable activity and to showcase how reading can easily be incorporated into one’s daily lifestyle.

This commemoration coincides with International Literacy Day on 8 September.


  • Read together every day. Read to your child every day. Make this a warm and loving time when the two of you can cuddle close.
  • Give everything a name. Build your child’s vocabulary by talking about interesting words and objects. For example, “Look at that aeroplane! Those are the wings of the plane. Why do you think they are called wings?”
  • Say how much you enjoy reading. Tell your child how much you enjoy reading with him or her. Talk about “story time” as the favourite part of your day.
  • Read with fun in your voice. Read to your child with humour and expression. Use different voices.
  • Know when to stop. Put the book away for a while if your child loses interest or is having trouble paying attention.
  • Be interactive. Discuss what’s happening in the book, point out things on the page, and ask questions.
  • Read it again and again. Go ahead and read your child’s favourite book for the 100th time!
  • Talk about writing too. Mention to your child how we read from left to right and how words are separated by spaces.