Pretoria - As the country prepares to celebrate the 10th anniversary of World Read Aloud Day, over 490 families and groups have pledged to participate in the decade-long campaign.
The families have pledged on the Nal'ibali website, which has challenged others to do the same.
This year's World Read Aloud Day will be on February 2, and is geared to be a family activity in which parents, together with their children, will read the chosen story for this year in their preferred language.
World Read Aloud Day is South Africa's reading-for-enjoyment campaign by Nal'ibali, and is a campaign founded by the organisation in 2012 with the purpose of getting children to realise their potential through reading.
The organisation explains it as a sustained initiative to promote a culture of reading aloud with children among families, parents, caregivers, educators and society.
Each year a new book is read aloud, and this year, it is 'A Party at the Park' written by Mabel Mnensa.
The story has been translated into different languages to accommodate all those interested in participating.
Mnensa will also read her story aloud on Nal'ibali social media pages.
The storybook has been translated into all South Africa's 11 official languages and six other intercontinental languages spoken by foreign national children and families living in South Africa.
Nal'ibali said last year over three million children were read to on their website last year.
"This year the focus is aimed at encouraging families to commit to reading to their children, regularly. Over the next three years Nal'ibali aims to sign one million families up for the day."
The organisation also highlights the importance of reading in children as it teaches them to have empathy and social skills.
“The most important thing in reading for children is the fact that it helps with building up their vocabulary.
“Reading for comprehension is vital, and children in basic education need to learn how to read to understand.”
According to the 2016 Progress In International Reading Literacy Study, in South Africa, Grade 5 learners achieved the lowest score compared to Grade 4 children in 39 participating countries.
And campaigns like this are meant to positively impact the literacy of children in South Africa.
"Our objective is to achieve sustained behaviour changes when it comes to reading to children, especially the formative years of 0-5 years."
Participants are encouraged to share their reading sessions’ pictures on social media using the hashtag #NalibaliWRAD2022.
The organisation has also printed a commemorative storybook featuring the past ten stories that have been read aloud for the campaign, as a way of encouraging the longevity of the reading campaign.
"A bumper 32-page edition of Nal'ibali reading-for-enjoyment newspaper supplement has been produced, containing all the official stories from the past 10 years," it said.