How to Encourage Children to Read For Meaning

Zintsomi provides many ways to encourage children to read by incorporating reading into their everyday lives. Reading is an essential part of childhood development. It is a fundamental building block to learning, memory and general communication. Reading helps children learn about the world and how to engage with it and others. That’s why, We also want them to get involved in the storytelling process. 

According to the latest Progress in International Reading Literacy Study, over 80% of Grade 4 learners in South Africa can’t read for meaning. These learners struggle to comprehend what they have read. After reading a simple text they need assistance finding and speaking about what they read. How can we encourage young people to read more books and enjoy stories?

Encourage Children to read and love stories

Reading storybooks to young children promotes brain development, stimulates the imagination and sparks creativity. So, it’s important to encourage a love for reading at a young age. Read stories to your baby, use fun voices, and sing songs. As they get older get them involved in the story time outside of school, too. Join your local library, exchange books with neighbours or read magazines and complimentary newspapers. There are so many opportunities with whatever resources are available to you.  

Visit our shop to Find out how Frog solved his problem. 

Find relevant stories to our lives

Seeing ourselves in all forms of media is an important building block. It is an aspect that encourages people to consume more of that form of media and improves self-esteem. When a protagonist looks and talks like you, you are always keen to learn more. This is the same for books with themes. If your child loves animals then animal-themed books will excite them more than books about cars.  While it is important to expand the scope of material, starting is a theme they already love is good.  

See all the options for fun stories in local South African languages, here. 

Language barrier to encourage children to read

In South Africa, eight out of ten children speak languages that are not English or Afrikaans. For the majority of children, relatable stories in indigenous languages such as isiZulu and Sesotho are a fantastic addition to the reading repertoire in any home. There is a rich history of fun stories through song, dance, sketches and literature. Previous generations have shared them along the way and keeping the excitement of these stories is important. It makes learning and storytelling for young people so much run. Reading and learning should always be fun.  

A boy reading a children's book.

“Any book that helps a child to form a habit of reading, to make reading one of his deep and continuing needs, is good for him.”

– Maya Angelou

Press Release: Zintsomi Children’s Storytelling Book Fair