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Nine schools have been recognised by the minister of education, Naledi Pandor, and by the Read Educational Trust for their success in literacy teaching.
The nine schools, the winners of the Readathon 2006 competition, were announced by Pandor at an awards ceremony at the Read offices in Pretoria last month.
They were honoured for developing a culture of reading among their pupils.
"With Readathon 2006 we wanted to motivate schools to make the teaching of reading and writing a daily activity.
"We need to show young people that the ability to read and write can influence their lives for the better.
"Children who read for learning and for enjoyment discover and know more than the limits of their environment allow.
"These are the children who will go on to study further, be economically independent and contribute to our country," said Pandor.
The Read Educational Trust is an NGO involved in education and literacy, and in teacher training and the provision of resources for schools.
Set up in 1979 and funded by foreign donors and the private sector, Read works in conjunction with the Department of Education on teacher training and literacy projects in schools.
Department of Education reports reveal that half of primary school children are not achieving adequate standards in the natural sciences, six in 10 are deficient in the use of language and eight in 10 are deficient in mathematics.
Poor literacy skills are said to be at the heart of the problem.
"In South Africa more than seven million pupils lack basic literacy skills," said Cynthia Hugo, national director of Read.
"Our pupils will continue to be unable to cope with situations that require reading, writing and arithmetic unless they are given access to educational opportunities in their youth or later."
The Readathon is intended to promote reading and writing, and to highlight the importance of literacy to the wellbeing of a modern nation.
Readathon has distributed literacy packs to more than 26000 schools, 330000 teachers and 13million pupils.
The Education Department subscribes to the notion that literacy, especially reading, is at the heart of education.
Readathon 2006 is a channel for the Education Department's core literacy messages.
The winning schools were George Randell Primary in East London, Letotolo Primary in Witsieshoek, Free State, Molapo Matebele Primary in Chuenespoort, Limpopo, Western Reefs Primary in Orkney, North West, Unified Public School in Florida, Gauteng, Bukhogibetfu Primary in Shongwe Mission, Mpumalanga, Estcourt Primary in KwaZulu-Natal, Worcester Primary in Western Cape, and Elizabethfontein Primary in Clanwilliam, Eastern Cape.
The Readathon initiative is sponsored by the Nedbank Foundation and supported by CNA, Clyson Printers, Scholastic and Sappi.