UCT's little lions roared on World Read Aloud day

4 Feb 2019 - 09:00
Story Carmen Louw  Photos Theresa Schoeman

Child acts out character from a book at storytime

A toddler jumps up, acting out a dramatic scene from Rosie Watson's story 'A Lion in the Meadow'

One summer's day, nestled under several shady trees at UCT Educare Centre, toddlers gathered with their chairs ready for storytime. Only this time Libraries staff appeared, ready to read their favourite storybooks.

Several inquisitive looks, some quietly eager but most enthralled by the adventures they travelled for what felt like hours. Some books commanded attention, others taught the toddlers how to face their fears and some simply asked: "Do you want to be my friend?". One thing was certain, no journey was the same, spearing many children to pounce on staff while acting out characters from a book - much to the amusement of onlookers.

Reading aloud has a profound effect on children's development, even before they learn to read on their own. At a UCT Summer School lecture, education expert Professor Mary Metcalfe spoke about the plight of South Africa's literacy crisis. She maintained that “Change is possible. We must focus on improving literacy and numeracy levels in the first four years of schooling.”

Promoting a Culture of Reading

On Friday 1 February 2019, UCT Libraries celebrated World Read Aloud Day by continuing to promote a culture of reading, and there is no better place to start than at home.

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World Read Aloud Day

This World Read Aloud Day we're calling on YOU to add your pledge to read aloud to the children in your life. This year's story is "Where are you?" written by Ann Walton. You can download this story in any of South Africa's official languages.


"Reading aloud is one of the most important things a parent or caregiver can do with children. Not only does it build a strong language foundation, it introduces vocabulary and can help develop empathy, curiosity and critical thinking. "  - World Read Aloud Day, Nal’ibali.