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Literacy NGO gives out 100,000th book

Categories: ALL THE NEWS , Education
READ to RISE celebrated handing out their 100,000th OAKY book at Cascade Primary School in Mitchells Plain.

The organisation visited the school to conduct their programmes to inspire the Grade 2 and 3 learners to read. As part of the programme, each of the 344 learners received a brand new OAKY book to take home. The organisation has been visiting the school for the last 5 years. “We believe that book ownership can ignite a love for reading and it is important to keep encouraging children to read.” says Executive Director Taryn Lock.

The latest PIRLS survey revealed that 78% of Grade 4 learners in South Africa cannot read.

READ to RISE promotes youth literacy in under-resourced communities in South Africa. The organisation hopes to get children excited about reading with a fun, interactive classroom programme and gives each learner a new book to take home. The programmes are based on the OAKY series of children’s books written by award-winning South African poet Athol Williams. There are currently five books in the series and each story has a valuable life lesson such as being brave, being a good friend, dealing with change, finding your true purpose and being happy – lessons which are much needed especially in the gang-ridden communities in which the organisation works.

Williams has given rights to READ to RISE to print the OAKY series and receives no royalties. “READ to RISE is able to distribute more OAKY books as it only needs to pay for the printing. I would like to see more authors and illustrators giving back to society.” says Williams.

Since its founding in September 2013, to date READ to RISE has conducted programmes in over 2,200 classes at 95 primary schools – over 70,000 children have benefitted from the programmes. “My message to children would be to internalise the message in each of the OAKY stories. Each story has an important life lesson. As an author it is a very long and isolated process of trying to write something that children will enjoy, so it is incredibly rewarding to see how much children love their OAKY books.” says Williams.

READ to RISE sells the OAKY books to fundraise for their programmes. For every OAKY book bought for R100, it allows the organisation to visit a school and one learner will get a book to take home. Visit www.theartpressbooks.com to buy the OAKY series.

“Every child who has received an OAKY reading book loves it. The fact that each story has a moral value throughout the story-line makes it so valuable for the teachers who instil and sharpen GOOD CHARACTER in our learners. Thank you READ to RISE!” Huguenot Primary School Teacher.

The NGO relies on sponsorships from individuals/corporates to conduct their programmes. They work with 45 primary schools in Mitchells Plain (Cape Town) 20 in Soweto (JHB) and 5 in Makhado (Limpopo) -  for only R50 a learner can benefit from the READ to RISE programme. For more information or if you would like to assist READ to RISE in promoting youth literacy, please visit www.readtorise.org or email info@readtorise.co.za

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