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Being able to read opens doors, and learners are being encouraged to read and so boost their prospects through the annual CNA Readathon.
THE more you read the more you know - this is the tagline of this year’s CNA Readathon, which was launched at Hlakaniphani Junior School in Soweto on 22 June.

ReadingCNA Readathon encourages kids to readThe annual campaign was first held in 1988. It will run this year until 8 September, International Literacy Day.

Excitement was clear on the faces of learners as they danced on the dusty ground with CNA Readathon ambassador Hlubi Mboya, who plays Nandipha in the popular soapie, Isidingo.

Dressed in their blue and gold uniforms, the children provided the entertainment. They sang and performed poetry to thank the campaign organisers for coming to make a difference in their community.

Learners also read aloud from the journals written by other students in past Readathons. A similar journal writing competition is being held this year.

Bertus Matthee, the national director of Read Educational Trust, said children needed to read regularly to improve their fluency and gain more knowledge. “Today’s knowledge economy depends on literacy and numeracy. The Department of Education agrees, and this campaign will serve as a channel for the department’s core literacy messages.”

Each year the campaign had a different theme; however, this year the theme was a continuation of last year’s theme because of the “huge response from readers”, Matthee explained.

The focus of this year’s campaign is to promote book clubs in schools. Book clubs encourage a love of reading among many people.

MattheeBertus Matthee: children should read regularlyBlank journals will also be given to schools around the country, as part of Readathon. Learners will be encouraged to write down their day to day personal experiences in the journals. When they are full, the journals can be handed in at any CNA store.

The best entries will be published by the retailer, the official sponsor of the campaign. In addition, a percentage of book sales during the months of August and September will go towards providing needed books in school libraries.

Hlakaniphani Junior School accommodates six to seven hundred learners from Grade R to Grade 4, said Amanda Mushi, a maths teacher at the school.

“It is very exciting that our kids will be encouraged to read. Not being able to read can be a restriction to great opportunities,” said Mushi.

Babalwa Somthunzi, a Grade 4 learner at Hlakaniphani, already enjoys reading. With a shy smile she explained that she was busy reading Jim’s Trumpet.

A fellow learner, Simphiwe Vanga, also in Grade 4, was happy the Readathon people came to his school to encourage them to read. “They also gave us journals so that we can write good and bad things that are happening to us,” he said.

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