Red box of knowledge

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    Children are more willing to learn more if the lesson is fun. And reading is a crucial skill that can help them build a better future for themselves. It is also a good skill to learn to share ideas and so teach each other what they have discovered – and so the Red Reading Box was launched.

    reading-box1Thanks to Read, many South African children are finding books a fun and useful tool that teach them something newThe campaign was launched by the Read Educational Trust (Read), a skills development NGO established in 1979 to help children with reading and access to library facilities. Within five years, Read had spread countrywide. “Red Reading Box was launched at celebratory functions in Gauteng at the Read head office in Ormonde, Johannesburg, and in Mpumalanga on Friday, 6 September,” explains Lizelle Langford, Read’s public relations and fundraising manager.

    “It was conceptualised from observing the lack of reading material in the homes of rural children and the difficulty they have in accessing additional reading material not supplied by schools. A love for reading can only be fostered if you have access to a variety of books and different genres.”

    INTRIGUE

    The Red Reading Box is gift-wrapped to intrigue right from the start and can be used at schools or in homes. Themes are chosen for their high interest levels, aiming to generate and develop an awareness of facts within the world around us. Everything needed for the activities is neatly organised into the box and the children will be responsible for keeping the items organised.

    The boxes contain books, stationery, paper, cut-outs, stickers, games and writing formats wrapped to attract a curious young mind, but most importantly, they offer a fun way for the teachers to go about their lessons. “Read is distributing the boxes to project schools that Read works with nationally. Selected schools in all nine provinces will receive a portion of the Red Reading boxes. These include schools such as Zandile and Thanda primaries in Mpumalanga, Leratong and Giyani primaries in Gauteng, and Yeshua and Kenridge primaries in Western Cape, to name a few.”

    In all, 3 000 boxes are being distributed across the country to schools and homes, along with free copies of Mini Mag, an educational and entertaining magazine for children. “The schools selected are part of Read projects, either sponsored by individual donors such as the Rally to Read project in the rural areas of South Africa, or in provincial literacy strategies in Gauteng and in Western Cape.”

    reading-box2Children are more willing to learn more if the lesson is fun. And reading is a crucial skill that can help them build a better future for themselves (Images: Read)Thanks to Read, many South African children are finding books a fun and useful tool that teach them something new. “We specifically aimed the box at learners in intermediate phase (Grade Four upwards) to assist English second language speakers with the transition from home language to English.

    “The Red Reading Box has a variety of components that will encourage learners to read, write and talk, building not only knowledge but also confidence. Interestingly enough, when we piloted the Red Reading Box we found that the adults wanted to participate as much as the children wanted to, so I can safely say that there is no real age limit on the activities in the box and that high school learners will also find it of interest,” says Langford.

    READATHON

    Another Read campaign, Readathon, gets books into a youthful environment and encourages a love of reading in young people. “The Readathon is an annual campaign that culminates in celebrations during International Literacy Week in September each year. This year, we launched our Red Reading Box during celebrations of the Readathon campaign.

    “The plan is to have a new Red Reading Box, new theme and new books ready by January 2014, and if sponsorship allows, we would like to continue producing more Red Reading boxes over the next 12 months.”

    Older people are included, and Langford explains: “Read does not have an adult programme as such but we do offer a Foundational Learning Competence course in English to school leavers who want to study further at a further education and training college and who were not able to gain admission to the college.”

    For more information about Read, visit its website or send an email to info@read.co.za.