Why we need to read aloud to children in their own language

Whenever authors are commissioned to write stories in South Africa, the default language used is English, and then the story is translated into an African language.

24.1.2020

More than 80% of South African population’s home language is neither English nor Afrikaans – languages in which the majority of literature is published, including children's books. We need to read aloud to children in their own language, writes Lorato Trok

Whenever authors are commissioned to write stories in South Africa, the default language used is English, and then the story is translated into an African language.

Only a week before I was due to send the story in did a light bulb flash in my mind.Among the benefits of reading aloud to your children are that it gives you things to talk about, and builds a bond between parent/caregiver and child.This means that more than 80% of the South African population’s home language is neither English nor Afrikaans – languages in which the majority of literature is published, including books for children.

As our beloved Nelson Mandela rightly said, if you talk to a person in a language they understand, that goes to their head; if you talk to them in their language, that goes to their heart.Take part in Nal’ibali’s World Read Aloud Day celebration on February 5, visit nalibali.org to download a copy of this year’s special story in any official South African language and register your read-aloud session.



Read more: City Press

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