Read To Rise Initiative To Raise Child Literacy Rates In South Africa

A South African non-profit organization, Read To Rise aims to raise child literacy rates by providing reading programmes at schools in under-resourced communities in the country.

Statistics from the World Bank have shown that adult literacy rates in South Africa remain lower than other developing countries like Brazil, Mexico, and Azerbaijan.

Child literacy rates are reported to be even lower with data showing that one-third of the children in the country are illiterate, meaning they are unable to read or write.

A local non-profit organization, Read To Rise aims to change these statistics through reading programmes that are offered at different schools, especially schools in areas that are under-resourced.

The Read to Rise programme director, Roscoe Williams says they go into schools mostly in Mitchells Plain, Cape Town and read exciting stories to learners.

The books they make use of during these sessions are sponsored by corporates and individuals who make donations to the organization.

Williams says the organization reads to Grade 2 and Grade 3 classes and they discuss the stories which have important life lessons within them. They also encourage learners to answer the questions which are found at the back of the books.

Williams told 702 Radio:

At the end of the programme, each child receives brand new books. These books are theirs to keep.

He says they are trying to make children excited about reading and using the books to read at home.

Williams says that it is challenging to measure the impact of this initiative and that it won’t automatically change the literacy and comprehension rates.

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However, Read to Rising has been active in the Mitchells Plain community for nine years and he believes the community approach of the organization has made a positive impact.

It costs R50 to sponsor a child and any individual who would like to help can contact Read To Rise via its website at or via email at [email protected].


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