Drive to inspire kids to read and write

Teaching and encouraging children to read is a basic step in education, a University of South Africa information science and children's literature research unit has asserted.

Teaching and encouraging children to read is a basic step in education, a University of South Africa information science and children's literature research unit has asserted.

Sadly, a number of children lack the essential input that learning and teaching how to read holds, especially since a huge number of adults are also illiterate. The lucky children who have been taught how to read (and write) deserve to be encouraged to read more and to learn more about the complex world around us.

To highlight this vital parenting role the unit is presenting a conference on promoting reading and storytelling for children at Unisa in Pretoria this week. The aim is to share and exchange experiences and to determine how institutions and organisations involved in children's reading can support one another.

Workshops on reading promotion and storytelling will be presented tomorrow, followed by a gala function, titled An Evening of Stories from Indonesia.

Though storytelling can also be seen as a means to promote reading, the two issues will be addressed on two consecutive days. The sessions will consist of both theoretical papers and practical presentations on specific projects. Participants will address the various issues from their perspectives.

To commemorate 15 years of diplomatic ties between South Africa and Indonesia, the conference and gala will feature Balinese storyteller Made Taro.

Taro's performances - with storytellers from Argentina, Cameroon and Tunisia - will be complimented by an exhibition of Indonesian children's books. Another performance, also by Taro and other star storytellers, will take place on Thursday and Friday.

l For more information call 012-429-6520/6071, or e-mail vdwaltb@unisa.ac.za.

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