Have fun with books

To coincide with South Africa’s Literacy Week and International Literacy Day, theTeacher supports the CNA Readathon Cam- paign, which was launched in June and runs until the end of Septem- ber. Here are some ideas to inspire everyone to read.

Readathon activities to do throughout the year:

  • Read or tell a story to your class two or three times a week. Try to link the stories you read with themes and topics you cover in class;

  • Set up a reading corner in your classroom.
    Make a poster promot- ing reading and display it above the books. Explain the difference between fiction and non-fiction materials. Collect and store pam- phlets, advertisements, articles and any other interesting resources;

  • Organise a display area for themes. Learners can bring books, pictures, articles and objects relating to the theme. Link the theme to the subjects you are teaching;

  • Learners can make their own reading-record cards to record the author and title of each book they read. Allow your learners time for silent reading;

  • Give awards for reading achievement;

  • Designate a special time in the day to “drop everything and read”;

  • Publicise and distribute lists of recommended books for readers of all ages;

  • Organise writing contests — for poems, stories or descriptions of favourite books;

  • Create mock television and radio shows to encourage reading;

  • Have children plan a campaign to get others to sign up for library cards;

  • Invite older children to the class- room or library to talk about their favourite books;

  • Discuss the importance of look- ing after books and how to do this; and

  • Collect extra reading material, especially if your school is short of books. Ask parents and neighbours to collect old magazines and news- papers from which you can cut out articles that are suited to your learn- ers’ ages and reading levels. Paste these on to cards or put them in plas- tic sleeves so they are easy to use. Set a few questions about each article so they can be used for activities.

Collect examples of different kinds of reading materials and list them in categories:

  • Texts that give us information: labels, instruction sheets, signs, news- papers, encyclopedias, non-fiction books, directories, manuals and dictionaries;

  • Texts we read for pleasure and emotional development: adventure stories, fairy stories, folk tales and everyday life stories;

  • Texts we read for fun: love stories, comics and magazines;

  • Texts that help us grow as human beings: religious books, books that teach us how to study or how to improve our lives in some way; and

  • Discuss each type of text — look at aspects such as layout, illustrations and font size.

Stories and biographies to read aloud:
The teacher reads to the class stories or interesting non-fiction texts that are above the learners’ reading level and discusses them. Favourite sto- ries can be read again. Older learners will enjoy discussions about issues, characters and emotions in stories and relate to interesting information
in non-fiction texts. Stories can lead to many exciting activities, such as using a story to:

  • Write a dialogue; write a script and present a drama;

  • Stimulate artwork by designing covers, illustrating a story, drawing a favourite character or making masks;

  • Stimulate learners to make their own little books; and

  • Give ideas for making “big books” with the class.

Where to find materials to read aloud:

  • Readathon Teacher’s Handbooks — collections of stories in 2005, 2006 and 2011; extracts from diaries and journals in 2010; and biographies in 2009;

  • Newspapers and magazines are a source of interesting articles, inter- views and stories;

  • Travel magazines have articles about interesting places;

  • Borrow books from the library; and

  • Tell your own stories that you make up or describe exciting, posi- tive experiences in your life instead of reading a story.

Drop All and Read (DAR) time
In time the whole school reads inde- pendently for 20 minutes. Ideally, independent reading time should take place every day, but even once a week will improve reading levels. Each learner should make a reading- record card to record the books he or she has read during DAR time.

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