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World Book Day 2015

What is World Book Day?

World Book Day is held globally on various dates in March and April. In South Africa we will be celebrating World Book Day on 23 April 2015.

The South African Book Association have partnered with World Book Day this year and have asked all South African book stores to partner with them. Exclusive Books will be selling 10 excellent kids titles at R15 each that can be donated to the Project Literacy: Run Home to read project.

The books are as follows:
Age 2 +
* Elmer’s Parade by David McKee
* The Dinosaur that Pooped a Lot by Tom Fletcher
Age 5+
* A Pirate’s Guide to Landlubbing by Jonny Dubble
* Magic Animal Friends by Daisy Meadows
Age 7+
* Goth Girl & The Pirate Queen by Chris Riddell
* Middleschool: How I got lost in London by James Patterson
Age 9+
* Best Mates: Six Favourite Stories by Michael Morpurgo
* Dork Diaries: How to be a Dork by Rachel Russell
Young Adult
* Geek Girl: Geek Drama by Holy Smale
* Killing the Dead by Marcus Sedgwick

How to Donate

From 10 April onward you can go into any of our stores and select one of the World Book Day titles and add it to your purchase. Once you have made your purchase simply add the book to the clearly marked World Book Day donation bin. At the end of the month all of the books collected will be sent to the Project Literacy: Run Home to read project.

Please note that these books will only be available in store.

Questions you may ask

What is World Book Day?
It is a global initiative where great children’s books are sold at low cost in order for more children to have access to books.
Can I buy a book for a child without buying anything else?
Can I buy more than one book for a child?
If I buy one or more of the selected children’s books for R15 do I have to put it in the book bin or can I take it home for someone else?
You can take it home, however we want to encourage books going to homes that really need them.

Who are the Project Literacy: Run Home to read project, and why should you support them?

Project Literacy launched the “Run Home to Read” (RHTR) family literacy project in June 2006 to tackle the absence of Early Childhood Development (ECD) practices of poor rural children by involving their parents and caregivers to develop their children’s early literacy skills in order that they can make the most of their formal education at school. Children who start school with no preschool experience are at a distinct disadvantage. In fact most of their schooling career is a remedial catch up. This challenge is made clearer when one considers the fact that most Grade R or Grade 1 classes contain up to 45 children. The central Government has made Grade R (the reception year) compulsory but most provinces have not yet budgeted for extra classrooms and educators. International comparability literacy assessments done by grade three learners, as well as our own hands-on experience since 2011 in the grade 3 Naledi literacy project sponsored by MNET (Multichoice), has shown that children are coming to school without any literacy skills, and often have had no exposure to pre-literacy processes either. The gap between these children and their more advantaged fellow South Africans is already one that is too big to bridge even when they are just commencing their primary education. Thus the funding and support for RHTR would enable us to bridge this gap for children in under resourced areas, and to give the children and the families of these children hope for a better future.
It is said that a child who completes a quality pre- school programme is less likely to need remedial education, less likely to be involved in crime or juvenile delinquency or, in the case of girls, fall pregnant during their teenage years. There is also evidence to suggest that enriching the early years yields more receptive learners at primary school, improving school performance and ultimately the quality of the workforce.

Another important part of this project is HIV/Aids awareness training given to the caregivers as well as training in home safety, and in this regard we work together with the Paraffin Safety Association of Southern Africa. Another important part of this project is Care Giver skills to assist parents and caregivers to be parents who are able to better take care of the physical, emotional and cognitive development of children in their care. We thus aim to empower caregivers to be involved in their children’s education from an early age, to improve their own levels of literacy, and to feel more empowered when dealing with government officials and the schooling system.

The impact of RHTR:

The Run Home to Read project has proven to be an effective model positively impacting both the parents and caregivers and their preschool children. As a result of participating in Run Home to Read parents and caregivers realise that they can play a role in their child’s development regardless of their literacy level. Their children, who previously had limited or no access to books, are now familiar with books, and enjoy reading and telling stories. We have learnt that it is not enough to give a family a book; the Reading Champions play a critical role in providing support to the parent/caregiver and child who possess little prior experience with reading. Through Run Home to Read we are fostering a culture of reading in homes where learning to read was perceived as something only done at school.

Children who have had access to the Run Home to Read programme are doing well at school and letters from school principals purport to this.

Run Home to Read project – thematic areas of impact:
• Illiterate caregivers understand that they have an important role to play in their child’s early learning,
• The significant impact access to libraries makes in a family’s literacy development,
• The relationship built between parent or caregiver and child through regular shared reading,
• The parent and caregivers renewed sense of confidence in their own abilities,
• The long term positive impact early learning has on children’s development through continual reading and stimulation from an early age,
• Children are confident and ready for school,
• Children’s cognitive learning abilities are stimulated and they no longer are at a learning disadvantage when starting school.

Gender – Empowerment of poor women
• Spin off of the RHTR programme is that parents and caregivers are encouraged and motivated to join literacy classes and up skill their learning.
• RHTR encourages healthy and empowered women who are more likely to have healthy, educated and confident daughters and sons. Women’s autonomy defined as the ability to control their own lives and to participate in meeting decisions that affect them and their families is associated with improved child nutrition and gender equality such as education levels among women and also correlates with improved outcomes for children and their development.
• Evidence shows that women who are educated and know their rights are more likely to ensure that their children have access to adequate nutrition, health care, education and protection from harm.
• Empirical studies point to discriminatory attitudes towards women and girls are not only held by men, but also reflect the forms and perceptions that may be shred by the entire society – research has shown that when women set aside these norms and the pressure to conform is relaxed their choices and values are very different. This can only be achieved through education.
• Women are the primary caregivers for children and thus ultimately shape children’s lives. This is especially true in the most traditional, patriarchal societies where roles and responsibilities are strictly delineated by gender; the well being of women and children is inseparable. What is good for women is good for children with few if any exceptions.
• To maximise gender equality’s impact on poverty reduction, education and sustainable development, women must have influence in decision making in three distinct areas; the household, the workplace and the political sphere. Education gives women the confidence and tools to negotiate their role in the household and participate in community affairs.

Where and how we work:

The Run Home to Read project is a 3-month programme. Many of the caregivers in the areas in which we work are illiterate or semi-illiterate and cannot afford to send their children to early childhood development sites or crèches. Every week these families are visited by our Run Home to Read staff, the Reading Champions, who work with the caregivers on how to read to their children.

Once the families complete the three month intervention they have continued access to books through our partnerships with local libraries. To date we have partnered with 12 local libraries and over 10 000 books have been donated to local libraries, and the Reading Champions have also received additional reading material to enhance implementing the programme. A community library “Bala-o-tsebe” has been established in partnership with one of our donors, Exclusive Books, in Mahlemelong in Limpopo and another Edutainer has been donated by the Nedbank Foundation, to a school in Bushbuckridge, Mpumalanga. Over 19 000 story books have been read by the children and their families, and special materials have been written in five mother tongue languages, Tshivenda, Sepedi, isiZulu, SiSwati and Xitsonga.

The Reading Champions facilitate the borrowing and returning of books on a monthly basis by taking out a block loan of 10-20 books per month. As they have been working with these families and live in the communities they have an established relationship with them and can ensure that the families understand the process for borrowing books as well as receive a library orientation to familiarise them with the library concept. Through this system the Reading Champions serve as the link between the libraries and the families ensuring that the families have access to books on a continual basis and the libraries increase their membership and serve poor families in the remote villages of their municipal area.

During 2010, we implemented a “Reading Champions” library – where each Reading Champion is given a small stock of children’s books which they can share with the families they work with – these books give families new and interesting reading books which stimulate their children’s reading abilities. This is in addition to the books that are available at their local libraries.

Sustainability of Run Home to Read:

Project Literacy has proven through its 42 years of uninterrupted service delivery in the sector that we have a model that is sustainable and resilient. The Run Home to Read project has been running for 11 years now and since 2006 has enjoyed steady and sound support, especially in Gauteng, North West, Limpopo and Mpumalanga. The sustainability of the project has been recognised by receiving the 2010 Impumelo Award for Sustainability. We have found it relatively easy to find sustained support for this project. By receiving IDT support to train and employ more Reading Champions, we can ensure that we can use these RCs in years to come to continue reaching more families and children. As we receive donations to purchase the Reading Packs, the IDT support for training RCs and getting them established will be of great value towards the continued sustainability of the project.

Questions need to be asked whether all programmes need to be financially sustainable. Some programmes operating in particularly difficult contexts or which have very effective empowerment strategies justify ongoing developmental subsidy in the same way as development interventions like health and education. Also, programmes may be extremely successful in terms of developmental sustainability but not be financially sustainable themselves. This is particularly the case with programmes aiming to link and train groups in education and family literacy. Although they are “educationally” sustainable through retaining “graduated” families (children and adults on the programme) expansion in terms of depth of reach would be eventually slowed down.

Education will considerably increase the cost effective delivery of other development interventions like health, environment, livelihoods, development and gender equality. There are strong arguments for judging programmes by developmental rather than financial sustainability criteria.

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17 Responses to World Book Day 2015

  1. Dawn March 31st, 2015 at 9:22 am #

    Is there any chance you could add a share button to this blog post so that we can spread awareness?

    • Cerys March 31st, 2015 at 9:46 am #

      Unfortunately there does not seem to be an option for this other than the Tweet/Like/Google+ options on the top left corner of the page.

  2. Dawn April 1st, 2015 at 12:22 pm #

    None of the books are available in store yet. Went to buy 10 today – nothing to buy 🙁

    • Cerys April 7th, 2015 at 11:22 am #

      Hi Dawn

      There has been a slight delay in delivery from the suppliers unfortunately, but we have been assured that all of the books will be available from 10 April onwards.

  3. Xolisa Guzula April 7th, 2015 at 9:36 pm #

    Why would Exclusive Books encourage a donation of English books to rural children who’s caregivers at home are illiterate? Are they perhaps illiterate in their own languages and more literate in English? I would think that considering that rural families usually speak an African Language it would make sense to donate books in languages that caregivers and children speak and can relate to. I also think that since we know that home language is crucial for literacy development, that it provides foundations for all other learning it would make sense for Exclusive Books and Project Literacy to encourage caregivers and children to nurture their reading experiences in a language they know best. Can children and adults identify with the characters in the books? Do they see themselves in the books to be donated? In other words, are these books relavant to their lives?

    • Cerys April 13th, 2015 at 8:53 am #

      Hi Xolisa

      Thank you for your response. These titles are the titles selected for use internationally for the World Book Day campaign: We do understand your concerns and thank you for voicing them. Please see the response from Project Literacy as well in regards to how these titles will be put to use and benefit the children in their projects.

  4. Dorothy April 8th, 2015 at 6:51 am #

    This is an initiative worth supporting. However have the books been chosen with the target audience in mind? ‘How I got lost in London’ is hardly going to resonate with South African kids in rural areas.For so many of them texts are foreign and not related to their everyday lives anyway, and these books won’t shift that for them. What about supporting the many beautiful local books – published in our own local languages too – and also then supporting local publishers who are writing specifically for this target market?

    • Cerys April 13th, 2015 at 8:53 am #

      Hi Dorothy

      Thank you for your response. These titles are the titles selected for use internationally for the World Book Day campaign: We do understand your concerns and thank you for voicing them. Please see the response from Project Literacy as well in regards to how these titles will be put to use and benefit the children in their projects.

  5. Nontando April 8th, 2015 at 7:06 am #

    Are there titles in isiXhosa? It will be appreciative to include two year olds to the target group but in the villages some of them are read to by monolingual guardians who are not proficient in other languages. Over and above that this age group is generally encouraged to learn in the mother tongue in enhancing learning abilities.

    • Cerys April 13th, 2015 at 8:54 am #

      Hi Nontando

      Thank you for your response. These titles are the titles selected for use internationally for the World Book Day campaign: We do understand your concerns and thank you for voicing them. Please see the response from Project Literacy as well in regards to how these titles will be put to use and benefit the children in their projects.

  6. Bontle April 8th, 2015 at 8:04 am #

    I find many aspects of this campaign very problematic. Without relevant and engaging local, mother tongue texts, we cannot hope to improve rural literacy. We also need interventions that are sustained and ongoing beyond 3 months.

    Perhaps a more sustainable approach would be to offer local books from orgabisations like Biblionef, in the home languages of caregivers and with frequent checkins and refreshers after the initial 3 month intervention.

    • Cerys April 13th, 2015 at 8:54 am #

      Hi Bontle

      Thank you for your response. These titles are the titles selected for use internationally for the World Book Day campaign: We do understand your concerns and thank you for voicing them. Please see the response from Project Literacy as well in regards to how these titles will be put to use and benefit the children in their projects.

  7. Carole Bloch April 8th, 2015 at 6:19 pm #

    There are 16 little board books for toddlers and children under 6 years in all 11 languages, published by Jacana and The Little Hands Trust. Would you not want to offer these too?

    • Cerys April 13th, 2015 at 8:55 am #

      Hi Carole

      Thank you for your response. These titles are the titles selected for use internationally for the World Book Day campaign: We do understand your concerns and thank you for voicing them. Please see the response from Project Literacy as well in regards to how these titles will be put to use and benefit the children in their projects.

  8. Nadeema Jogee April 10th, 2015 at 8:10 am #

    I agree with the last 5 comments above. Giving English books to non-English speaking children makes very little sense. At the very least the books need to be bilingual & if that is not possible, then books in both the mother tongues of the caregivers & children as well as in English need to be given. And if that is not possible, then books in the mother tongues. But this seems inadequate too. These communities have stories and it would be nice to be able to contribute by buying materials that allow communities to develop their own reading material (notebooks, stationery, money for recording equipment etc). We need to examine our ‘charity’ culture and develop a solidarity culture.

    • Cerys April 13th, 2015 at 8:55 am #

      Hi Nadeema

      Thank you for your response. These titles are the titles selected for use internationally for the World Book Day campaign: We do understand your concerns and thank you for voicing them. Please see the response from Project Literacy as well in regards to how these titles will be put to use and benefit the children in their projects.

  9. Cerys April 13th, 2015 at 8:45 am #

    Response from Project Literacy regarding English titles for World Book Day campaign:

    Project Literacy would like to express its gratitude for all the contributions Exclusive Books and its customers have made thus far.

    Project Literacy’s Run Home to Read project provides mother tongue literacy books in the indigenous South African languages to pre-school children aged between 3 and 7 years old. The approach is to have “Reading Champions” who work with the caregivers to develop the literacy skills of the children, and in so doing also to develop literacy skills of the caregivers. The books received through the World Book Day initiative will be used in three ways:

    Firstly, they will be used to extend the exposure of the children on the Run Home to Read project by exposing them to English children’s literature, and to reach a greater age range of siblings within the families. This will be facilitated by the Reading Champions, who are fully conversant and literate in English as well. It will open up topics of discussion with the children and their caregivers. Secondly, Project Literacy supports four under-resourced community driven libraries, and these books would be catalogued and form part of the steadily growing volume of reading material at these libraries. Finally, we have one community in Kliptown Soweto where the pre-school children are learning to read in English as their primary language, and these books will be of value in that scenario.

    We do not discredited the value of utilizing local materials and promoting local authors and thus we are working with the South African Book Council to increase the number of titles of local indigenous language books we use, especially in marginalized languages such as SiSwati.

    We trust this gives further clarity on the project.

    Steven le Roux and Thuli Khubeka.

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