The National Education Collaboration Trust (NECT) has developed 189 indigenous language storybooks to promote home language reading in foundation phase classrooms across the country.
At least 21 titles have been developed in nine of South Africa’s official languages, namely Siswati, Setswana, Sepedi, Tshivenda, Xitsonga, IsiXhosa, IsiNdebele, IsiZulu and Sesotho.
The idea for the creation of these storybooks stemmed from the need to support teaching and learning in home languages, particularly in the early grades.
According to the World Bank, children learn more and are more likely to stay in school for longer if they are taught in a language that they speak and understand.
Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga has previously noted that given the demographics of South Africa, more than 80% of children are taught in a language that is not their own.
Through the development of these 189 home language titles, the NECT is supporting the Department of Basic Education’s efforts to elevate home languages by providing reading resources that will support the teaching of reading and also promote reading for enjoyment.
“The stories should help learners identify with their personal, social and cultural identities, and they will also assist in bridging the gap between home and school,” said National Reading Coalition (NRC) Project Manager Bailey Nkuna.
The NECT’s reading programme manager, Dr John Thurlow, said hard copies would be made and distributed to children in disadvantaged communities through the organisation’s focused reading programmes.
“We will also be disseminating them through a digital campaign with the aim of improving access to home language resources,” he added
The NRC's goal is to make age and content appropriate reading resources available to learners, teachers and parents.
The NECT indigenous language storybooks can be downloaded from https://nrc.org.za/books/>