The three-fold mission of the Maponya Mall Reading Programme, to be launched at the Centre Court of the Maponya Mall, Soweto on Saturday, 17 March at 09:00, is to encourage and educate families about their important role in raising a reader; support schools in assuring that students read on grade level by the end of the third grade and to facilitate community involvement in helping young readers be successful.
UJ’s Executive Dean of Education, Professor Sarah Gravett, together with the university’s foundation phase students will jump-start the reading programme by reading selected books to the children and their parents in order to start discussion on issues from the tactical to the ethical and everything in between.
“Reading to one's child is crucial to various aspects of development. From the womb through to the intermediate phase, reading to one's child is essential. Reading is a very important way of activating and initiating the development of more complex thinking and linguistic literacy, which can prove crucial to the years of foundation phase schooling. The earlier reading is used as a tool to stimulate language development the better, since we never exist without language; we use it all the time,” says Prof Gravett.
According to Gravett selected stories can be used to teach a child something about society and the world. “By exposing the child to the right story, one is able to refer to the events and essential facets of narrative to teach them something about the world. For instance, a story that deals with friendship can be used to teach values and ideas accompany bonds of friendship.”
She concludes: “The question should not be whether I should be reading to my child, but what I should be reading and how I can use the reading experience to teach my child something about society. Even though the mere act of reading to one's child is important since it stimulates the development of linguistic literacy, it should be accompanied by the deliberate attempt to teach one's child something new. Your child's success at school depends on what you are reading to them.”