Nal’ibali sets a new national read-aloud record

The main event, saw hundreds of children reading with author and activist, Lebohang Masango, who gave a multilingual reading at the Sandton Library in Johannesburg, South Africa. Picture: DANIEL BORN for NAL'IBALI

Nal’ibali, South Africa’s reading-for-enjoyment campaign, set a new national read-aloud record on Friday, 1 February 2019 when, together with the help of South Africans across the country, it read aloud to a total of 1 559 730 children as part of its annual World Read Aloud Day celebration.

The biggest literacy drive in South Africa, World Read Aloud Day is aimed at raising awareness of the important of reading aloud for children’s literacy development. And, each year Nal’ibali leads the drive by calling on caregivers to read a specially created story to children in their mother tongue.

“Reading is a powerful tool to tackle inequality and poverty and we are excited by the thousands of adults joining in the celebration. The day was an explosion of reading and joy and, through a massive collective effort, we reached close to 10% of South Africa’s children,” said Jade Jacobsohn, Managing Director at Nal’ibali.

“But, while this is an important and exciting first step, we now need to ensure that we keep a habit of reading alive in our homes, classrooms and communities throughout the year if we want to ensure our children have the best possible chance of succeeding at school and in life,” she added.

Jacobson further encouraged members of the public to visit Nal’ibali’s website at where a wealth of multilingual literacy resources as well as stories for children in different South African languages which can be accessed for free. For those wishing to get further involved in their community’s literacy development, she advised signing up to Nal’ibali’s FUNda Leader or volunteer network which offers training, support and ideas on nurturing reading-for-enjoyment amongst children.