The power of books

Readathon week is taking place from 21 to 25 September 2020.

17 September 2020 | Education

The Readathon is a week-long program of reading activities, organised by the Ministry of Education, Arts and Culture, through the Directorate Namibia Library and Archives Service.
This occasion is celebrated on the last week of September each year, from Monday to Thursday, during which time a variety of book and reading-related activities are organised by schools. The last Friday of Readathon week is set aside for all schools to celebrate the activities done throughout the week.
“The main purpose of the Readathon is to foster the love for reading amongst the learners in an effort to nurture a reading culture in the country. In addition, the event is meant to create awareness on the importance of literacy and inspire learners to read, not only for comprehension but for enjoyment too. During the Readathon week, the learners are encouraged to read whatever they like, including comics, non-fiction, poetry, electronic books, or just listen to stories, including audiobooks. Programs of this nature are crucial to children, specifically to those in lower grades, as they can effectively tackle reading difficulties at an early stage,” said Esther Tobias, the chief librarian at the Education Library Service of the ministry of education, arts and culture.
“The Readathon does not only promote a reading culture, it also seeks to create awareness on different type of issues concerning our communities, country and the world at large,” Tobias says.
It is for this reason that this year’s Readathon will be celebrated under the theme “Read Namibia: know your Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and make the world a better place for everyone”.
This theme has been selected in order to raise the level of awareness on the sustainable development goals within all school learners. “Learning about these goals will help them to develop insights into issues around the world, such as good health, economic growth, climate change, access to clean water and gender equality. Learners can be a powerful force in creating positive change in local communities and achieving the SDGs by 2030,” Tobias adds.
This year the Readathon will be celebrated differently than usual due to the Covid-19 pandemic. However, the ministry of education, arts and culture is encouraging the parents, elder siblings, schools and librarians to observe the Readathon week by ensuring that children are engaged in reading throughout the week, either at home, schools or at the libraries.
“It is particularly important that stakeholders simplify and ensure that children read and understand the Covid-19 regulations and preventive measures, as highlighted in various documents from the World Health Organisation (WHO) and our ministry of health and social services. This will help our country to combat the further spread of Covid-19, particularly among children,” she adds.
The ministry is aware that access to physical books can be challenging during this time, as library activities are currently being offered at a limited scale, however, provision is made for all Namibia children from the age of 3 to 12 to have access to electronic books available through the Namibia Reads-app, available for both Android phones and iPhones at the following link: https://NamibiaReads.com
“Let us all be part of this significant reading event, elder siblings can read to younger siblings, parents and grandparents can read to their children, children can also read to adults,” Tobias concludes.

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