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South Africa: Speaking Books - Library Week Helps South Africans with Low Literacy
Source: SA - The Good News via SAPA
Source Date: Friday, March 28, 2014
Focus: ICT for MDGs
Country: South Africa
Created: Mar 28, 2014

According to global research, one in five adults cannot read or write. This level of illiteracy makes the library a scary place and a place of exclusion for many. The Speaking Books are designed to overcome the challenges associated with illiteracy, to distribute knowledge to all people regardless of levels of literacy, and to be accessible to all population groups. These hard-covered, brightly illustrated books speak to their readers. Illiteracy traps entire families behind walls of fear, shame and ignorance. Socialising with others, isolation, and the inability to gain and retain crucial health information can jeopardize children's future success, and without good reading or comprehension skills, parents cannot advocate effectively for their children.
One unexpected by-product of these books is an increase in reading ability. "We have designed a Speaking Book, together with USAID, specifically for Grade One learners to teach them - and their caregivers - to read", says Wilson. Teaching children to read the alphabet is the start of their education. Many children don't have parents who can read and write, or who can only do so in a limited way, which means that for many children, their initial instruction into reading may be flawed, inaccurate, and inconsistent. The Speaking Book for teaching reading of the alphabet will revolutionize how children learn - through creativity, phonics, recognition and articulation in one easy-to-use, durable book. The Book allows parents to learn along with their children - empowering them and encouraging their children to learn to read and write.
Reading Shakespeare, medical textbooks, even People magazine starts with reading and recognising the A,B,C.- and all are available at a library. Libraries are a critical foundation for a country's literacy, awareness and future. We at SADAG and the Speaking Books fully support our national libraries and hope they will become a more integral part of all our lives.
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