Nolly Shelle has been supporting the World Read Aloud challenge for a number of years now, pushing the boundary of the number of learners she pledges for each year. Having read to more than 200 children last year, she pledged 300 for 2020, "but I've multiplied that number six times!" she said. This drive was different as it included all ages- high, primary and pre-schools. All in all 1805 scholars from 27 schools and ECD centres were involved on the day, with reading happening in three languages. Many high schools also encouraged their learners to read to their young siblings Even the elderly were not forgotten, "as part of our community needs, some scholars visited the Ethembeni Service Centre to read to the elderly members," said Selle. As the Nal'ibali shared story was used (and distributed to more than 205 readers) grandparents could then engage with their grandchildren about the story they had heard at school. " As we don’t have parks closer to us, they related the area to their play area." New vocabulary was also developed as the story was written in standardized isiXhosa which is somewhat different from the dialectical version spoken here in Makhanda. At Good Shepherd a couple of children tried their hand at kite flying like the characters in the story. In one school they read to themselves using all the story books they have, showing them the pictures and they give their own version of the pictures."
All the CSD staff played a role, and the EPDT SETA level 5 students were also engaged in the project with the CSD transporting students in small groups to read to children at ECD centres.
The day was certainly a celebration of literacy in Makhanda.