The reading crisis: how you can help


Imagine a South Africa where reading comes naturally to everyone, young and old. People read at every turn and in every situation; in taxis, on trains, in hair salons, and at home. They read for their children and their children read for them. Inside the classroom and beyond, books are part of daily living. Imagine this South Africa where people read for fun, for school, and for business; and their reading enables them to live better, know more, provide for their families, run their churches or companies better and enjoy a prosperous life in general.

The National Education Collaboration Trust (NECT) is encouraging every South African to help cultivate a reading culture in South Africa to enable our children to read for meaning.

Grocott’s Education offers this list of local literacy initiatives that you can join, complied by the Lebone Centre’s Cathy Gush and Rhodes Community Engagement’s Nosi Nkwinti.

Ways to support literacy efforts in Makhanda

Project Read: 1 hour per week with two Grade 1 or 2 learners, utilising the Ready, Steady, Read & Write programme developed by Wordworks. Contact Cathy Gush at The Lebone Centre (

Aftercare Centres: Assist literacy facilitators at one of the following Aftercare Centres that run literacy groups in the afternoons:
• St Mary’s Development & Care Centre:
• Child Welfare (
• Ikhaya Losizo Safe House in Joza
• Sun City Aftercare Centre
• Assumption Nutrition Centre in Joza (Sisters of the Assumption):
• Lebone Centre:

School Libraries ( or Assist in setting up and running libraries at schools such as CM Vellem Primary and Archie Mbolekwa Primary, where there is a facility but not enough capacity.

Nal’ibali Reading Clubs ( Act as Funda Leaders that promote reading for enjoyment utilising Nal’ibali materials (check

Friends of the Makana Libraries: Join as a member or serve on the committee (

Rhodes Community Engagement projects:
• BuddingQ: volunteering time or donations of play equipment (e.g. stilts, bean bags, balls etc)
• Inkwenkwezi: volunteering (using Wordworks materials in Grade R classes)
• Siyakhana@Makana Project Planning Programme: Donations of infrastructural equipment (e.g. for playgrounds or paint for classrooms)

Donate books: Good second-hand children’s books (

• Sponsorship for reading rooms, ECD outreach projects:
• Whistle Stop school (GADRA):
• Young Adult reading/study circles:
• Black Power Station: The Book’ona: Xolile Madinda ( or

More about the NECT’s campaign
The 2016 Progress in International Reading Literacy Study found that 78 percent of our Grade 4 learners unable to read for meaning. What good is reading or school education if it cannot help our children to identify and interpret explicitly stated information or make straightforward inferences about events and reasons for actions? This means that our future leaders will not be able to make sense of their world.

There are several reasons for this crisis, including the lack of access to age-appropriate reading material, the inability of teachers to teach reading and the absence of a reading culture.

We can correct this situation. For five years, the NECT has led the collaboration of key stakeholders to reach over 70 percent of our schools. They worked with the Department of Basic Education, about 20 percent of our 433,000 teachers, parents, school communities, unions, NGOs, private sector companies and ordinary citizens – everyone keen to support the pursuit of our national education objectives, the goals of the National Development Plan (NDP) and the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals on education and skills development.
The NECT has appealed to citizens to assist in raising the human, technical and material resources to improve the education of nearly 13 million children of school-going age.

For more information about the National Education Collaboration Trust (NECT) contact:
Lindelwa Mjangqeka
Marketing & Communications Manager, NECT
Tel: + 27 (0) 12 752 6200
Mobile: + 27 (0) 83 718 1021
Email: to support literacy efforts in Makhanda

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