Press release from M-Net Literary Awards:
The prestigious M-Net Literary Awards celebrates 19 years of quality South African literature in 2010 with the announcement of a ground-breaking partnership set to increase literacy rates and inspire a love of reading amongst South African children – the Naledi Initiative.
The Naledi Initiative, an M-Net Cares project, will roll out in Gauteng in its pilot phase for 2010. As a partnership between the M-Net Literary Awards and the Readers Society of South Africa and endorsed by the Department of Education, Naledi will see over 300 children receive specialized literacy training over a five-week period from 3 May to 4 July. The children will participate in a course known as Dynamic English Level 1 Basic, facilitated by established education training services provider Triple E Training. The course focuses on the development of phonic skills in learners – developing listening skills; focusing on the sounds of the language; and associating the sounds with letters to identify words so that they can be reproduced in written form.
M-Net Director of Corporate Marketing and Communications, Koo Govender, feels that Naledi has the potential to grow exponentially. “The focus area of the Naledi Initiative is equipping children with basic literacy skills through fun, interactive projects,” says Govender. “Once equipped with these basic skills, we hope to inspire a life-long love of reading in children and go on to develop a nation with excellent literacy skills. The children are obviously the future of the country and M-Net would like to give them every opportunity to be a success.”
Each group of children at the five schools (Motheo Foundation School – Lawley; Zakariyya Park Combined School – Zakariyya Park; Olifantsvlei Primary School – Eikenhof; Elethu Themba Public School – Eikenhof; and Lawley Primary School – Lawley) will then receive five weeks of literacy training – a total of 25 hours per learner across five lessons per week. The classes are tailored, based on an age-appropriate pre-assessment and learning style analysis of each child, which will give the facilitator information to map out the strengths and weaknesses of each individual, enabling them to focus the activities. The Triple E Training program also includes remedial methodologies and includes activities which draw on the child’s experience, while encouraging fantasy and play.
At the end of the program, an assessment will be completed for each child – should they have achieved their objectives, they will receive a certificate at a fun graduation ceremony on 7 July, along with a book, kindly sponsored by Penguin Books and Pan Macmillan.
Palesa Xorile, CSI Manager at M-Net, praises the Department of Education for its willing assistance in identifying schools which needed help. “The Department has been a great help in targeting schools to participate in Naledi in its first year,” she says. “Now we look forward to working with the Department to grow the initiative beyond these six schools from next year and inspire South African children to read; improve their communication skills; and teach them analytical and critical thinking. M-Net understands the value of education, which is why we are contributing towards making a difference through our Naledi Childrens’ Literacy Project.”
David Ferreira, Operations Director of the Readers Society of South Africa, couldn’t be happier about the Naledi Initiative. “I’m thrilled about the fact that this campaign will contribute richly to the lives of hundreds of children. Reading isn’t only a necessary skill in today’s society – it enriches our lives, and feeds the soul. That is why the Readers Society exists – to instill a passion for reading in South Africa, and to ensure the literacy education of children across the country. And with the knowledgeable guidance of the Department of Education, Naledi has developed into something that glimmers!” he says.