5 Ways to Make World Read Aloud Day Fun and Engaging


World Read Aloud Day on February 5: Grow Leaders, Get Reading

The power of stories infographic
Image Supplied by Nali'ibali

The Paper Manufacturers Association of South Africa has pledged its support of Nal'ibali's two million target for World Read Aloud Day on February 5th, and offers five ways to make reading fun and engaging. 

According a survey conducted by the South African Book Development Council, a mere 35% of adults with children in their homes read to their young ones while a 2016 Progress in International Reading Literacy study – which tested reading comprehension, found that 78% of South African Grade 4 pupils could not read for meaning.

Reading to children from an early age is an acknowledged factor in early childhood development as it not only strengthens the bond between adult and child, but helps little ones develop cognitive, auditory processing and conversational skills.

LitWorld, a nonprofit addressing global literacy and human rights, has declared 5 February 2020 World Read Aloud Day.

Not only does the Paper Manufacturers Association of South Africa (PAMSA) have a vested interest in all things paper, it is also a member of the South African Book Development Council which seeks to increase access to books, especially indigenous language and diverse content literature.  

Our digital world has pros and cons, so it’s not surprising that a debate on the merits and pitfalls of e-books against the printed page wages on. Recent studies and educational experts are proving that paper books often trump digital devices, especially when it comes to reading and comprehension.

It is for this reason that PAMSA has pledged its support for World Read Aloud Day as well as local literacy campaigns such as Nal’ibali.

World Read Aloud Day, annually celebrated on the first Wednesday of February, advocates for access to literacy and diverse stories, as well as the power of reading aloud – an activity that has an immensely powerful impact on children’s development.

Support Nal’ibali’s World Read Aloud Day campaign

South African organisation Nal’ibali is built on the simple logic that a well-established culture of reading can be a real game-changer for education in South Africa. The organisation believes that literacy skills are a strong predictor of future academic success in all subjects – and children who regularly read and hear engaging stories, in languages they understand, are better equipped and motivated to learn to read and write.

Each year Nal’ibali celebrates World Read Aloud Day by issuing a brand-new children’s story in all 11 official languages for caregivers across the country to read aloud to their children. This year the campaign aims to read the story aloud to two million children. You can sign your pledge to read aloud and download a copy of the official story here: https://nalibali.org/WRAD-2020. You will also find loads of resources on their website.

LitWorld also provides a multitude of online resources, including activity guides at litworld.org/worldreadaloudday.

Five ways to make World Read Aloud Day fun and engaging:

  1. Switch off your cellphone and dedicate 15 to 20 minutes reading to your little – even big – one. You’re never too old to be read to. You could even have your older children read to you! And it's great practice for them.
  2. Choose the story together – scan the bookshelf or visit a library to find the book you want to read aloud together. Arrange a book swap with friends.
  3. Find a quiet, comfortable area to read together. Make a magic tent with a bed sheet and some cushions. Take away distractions such as toys or devices.
  4. Dramatise the story with different voices and accents. Get the kids to do the sound effects. Get older children who can read to participate and assign characters to them.
  5. Take your time. Don’t rush. And most of all, have fun!


“LitWorld’s annual World Read Aloud Day has become a movement engaging hundreds of millions of people around the world in standing up for literacy as a foundational human right,”

says Dorothy Lee, executive director of LitWorld.

“When communities have access to strong literacy tools, every aspect of life improves.”

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