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World read Aloud Day!

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Today – 16th February – is a big day in the reading calendar. It might not attract as much attention as the better publicized St Valentine’s Day, but it has more meaning for the many children around the world who have stories read aloud to them on this date.

Long before they can read themselves, babies and children absorb and enjoy the sound of stories. What we sometimes forget is that they still enjoy hearing stories when they are much, much older. Hearing stories helps to create a bridge towards an interest in reading them. Books need just as much advertising as chocolate hearts, and marking this day is one way of reinforcing that.

CBN was at Die Bron School in Stanford, where Lesley Beake talked about reading and also about writing stories to Grade Sevens (11-12 year-olds). There was considerable interest in the fact that the first story – My Two Lives – was written by Grade Sevens in a rural school north of Kimberley and was published in an anthology of 28 stories by young people in a book called: My story, our stories. They also enjoyed Kubi the Star, by Polly Maxwell, a story with a twist.

Later CBN was at The Butterfly Centre, a Stanford school for special needs children, where there was great interest in books donated by Jay Heale that we were able to leave behind for further fun – thank you Jay!

Special thanks to Mr Lionel Pedro, Principal of Die Bron School, who not only welcomed the idea of a book talk, but participated (and orchestrated) the photographs at the end. Thanks also to the Grade Seven teacher at Die Bron, Mev Bernadette Dreyer and to Sam at Butterfly Centre. Reading is alive and well and living in Stanford! We were also able to donate Sunday Times Story books at Die Bron for which we thank the Franschhoek Festival Library Fund.