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Creating excitement about reading at libraries

Literacy non-profit organisation, READ to RISE, hosted five full day programmes at five public libraries – Tafelsig Public Library, Rocklands Public Library, Lentegeur Public Library, Westridge Public Library and Town Centre Public Library - in Mitchells Plain during the December/January school holidays.

131 children benefitted from the READ to RISE Holiday Programme. Each child received 4 new story books, 3 activity books, a pencil and lunch. Children got to see the OAKY Puppet Show, learn about the stories from the OAKY series and also work on activities with READ to RISE facilitators. A total of 524 story books and 393 activity books were given out.

The project was funded by the Western Cape Department of Cultural Affairs and Sports.

READ to RISE is a non-profit organisation that promotes youth literacy in under-resourced communities such as Mitchells Plain. They hope to inspire children to read with a fun, interactive classroom programme and also giving each learner a new book to take home. In communities like Mitchells Plain, many children have never owned a book before. “Book ownership can ignite a love for reading” says READ to RISE Programme Manager, Roscoe Williams.

READ to RISE currently offers programmes for Grade 2 and 3 classes and works with all 47 primary schools in Mitchells Plain. To date, the organisation have visited over 6,300 classes to conduct their programme and given out over 286,000 new books. The books which are used in the programme are the Oaky Series which are inspirational stories written by award-winning poet Athol Williams who grew up in Mitchells Plain. Children need to read in order to ‘rise’ despite their circumstances. In Mitchells Plain, children face many challenges including gangs and drugs. “We believe that children who read, will excel at school and go on to become constructive citizens.” says Williams.

READ to RISE relies on sponsorships from individuals, trusts and corporates in order to conduct their programmes in schools and libraries.

The SALI Trust has recently partnered with READ to RISE to conduct the OAKY Puppet Show at 25 public libraries in Cape Town in 2023. 225 books from the OAKY Series will be given to these libraries so that children can borrow the books to read. ‘We are grateful to sponsors like The SALI Trust so that READ to RISE can get more children excited about reading and libraries.’ say Williams.

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