National Book Week‘s theme for 2014: “Going Places”.

National Book Week is an important campaign that promotes reading. The National Book Week (NBW) is part of a national effort aimed at promoting the value of reading and sharing it with as many people as possible. This initiative is a joint venture between the South African Book Development Council (SABDC) and the Department of Arts and Culture in response to a research finding that only 14% of South African adults are ardent readers. Other findings include that only 5% of parents read to their children and 51% of households do not have a single book in their homes.  Furthermore, it has been reported that 20 000 schools are still without libraries and only 8% of schools have functional libraries.

NAPTOSA has, over the course of this year, supported and encouraged schools to participate in reading initiatives such as this Campaign.  The Grade 3 ANA results shows that the majority of our children are not achieving at the required literacy levels. Reading for 15 minutes a day can expose a child to a million words a year according to a statement made by Nal’ibali during their campaign to promote a culture of parents reading to their children. Encouraging a reading habit amongst pupils can help improve learners’ performance at school. Reading cultivates curiosity, confidence and knowledge. NAPTOSA encourages schools to participate in the NBW Campaign by creating awareness of the value of reading. Schools should also promote awareness in communities about the value of reading to children every day.

The National Book Week Campaign is “Going Places” this year, as the theme suggests. Campaign organisers will be travelling with a bus, deep into six of South Africa’s provinces, from Ganyesa in the North West to Worster in the Western Cape, promoting reading and handing out 9000 brand new books to the general public.  The power of books will be highlighted with various exciting activities planned along the NBW bus route which will include reading in indigenous languages, storytelling and motivational talks, word-a-thon, poetry sessions and book debates.

Suggestions on what to do during National Book Week at your school:

- Start a book reading club at your school.
- Promote the use of the school library.
- Start a book collection campaign for your school library.
- Buy or donate books for individuals, schools that are under resourced or organisations working with vulnerable children and youth.
- Participate in the programme in your province.

Download the National Book Week Bus Tour Route from NAPTOSA‘s Communicator, under “Resources” to see when and where the bus will be in your area.

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