Research says that books in the home are the single biggest indicator of academic success – and it’s with that in mind that the Lebone Centre is launching an exciting literacy campaign that includes donating 20 books to each of 200 Makhanda homes in 2020.
The aim of the initiative is to partner with families in creating an enabling environment that will support the literacy practices in their homes.
Much research has been done that points to a strong literacy environment in the home as a critical factor in children’s literacy development, especially in the early years. A study conducted in 27 countries by Professor Mariah Evans of the University of Nevada, US, and a range of international colleagues concluded as follows:
“Books in the home are the single biggest indicator of academic success, equal to parents’ education, and more so than socio-economic status.” The Book Dash organisation, who work to give all children access to their own books, have said that, “In a profoundly unequal society like South Africa, this is a game changer.”
Other important research includes the work done by American neuroscientist Maryanne Wolf, and the 2016 Progress in International Reading Literacy Study Report on children’s literacy development in South Africa. This international comparative assessment measures student learning in reading and is administered every five years. It also identifies books in homes as an important contributor to success.
The campaign will focus on the communities of Sun City, Ghost Town, Phapamani and Zolani. Field workers will be visiting homes in those areas to discuss with families whether they would like to participate and what age and language they would prefer. Families will receive two books per month and will be able to give feedback about which kinds of books are particularly suited to their home environment.
The books will be a mixture of brand-new ones and second-hand, and will be in a variety of languages, depending on the preferences of the families. Partners in this effort at this stage are Book Dash, as well as the DG Murray Trust, who last year facilitated a large donation of new books to the Lebone Centre.
Anyone wishing to contribute second-hand children’s books in very good condition to the campaign can drop them off at Tigas Nursery in African Street, Suzi Q, Grahamstown Pharmacy or at the Lebone Centre, 15 Currie Street.