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Reading Clubs – Inculcating a reading habit in young learners

The aim of the Spelling Bee and Reading Clubs programmes are to improve academic performance through fun activities. The DBE Spelling Bee commenced during 2013 in partnership with independent Spelling Bee implementers. It was taken to scale in 2014 and has been running since. Underpinning the Spelling Bee programme is the establishment and nurturing of Reading Clubs in schools and school communities to reinforce the DBE’s Read to Lead Campaign.

The 2016 Progress in International Reading Literacy Study (PIRLS) calls for increased time spent on reading in the Foundation and Intermediate phases in the curriculum, as well as the encouragement of an increase in the culture of reading.

To date, more than 538 officials in seven provinces (Eastern Cape, Gauteng, KwaZulu-Natal, North West, Northern Cape, Western Cape, and Free State) have attended a capacity-building workshop on how to establish and sustain Reading Clubs to promote reading for enjoyment. The Reading Clubs are specifically aimed at inculcating a reading habit amongst learners in the lower grades. Currently, there are approximately 416 Reading Clubs co-ordinated in collaboration with the Nal’ibali Trust, with whom the DBE has signed a Memorandum of Agreement, throughout the country.

Reading Clubs are often confused with Book Clubs (mostly for adults). There seems to be a consensus among key stakeholders that a Reading Club is “a relaxed environment where people who love stories and books meet regularly to read, tell stories and talk about what they are reading with children of all ages”.

The DBE Reading Clubs’ Competition will be launched during 2019. Currently four districts within two provinces have been participating since 2017, namely: the Eastern Cape (Maluti and Bizana) and KwaZulu-Natal (Ugu and Uthukela). The objectives of the competition are to develop a reading habit amongst young learners; to encourage reading for enjoyment; to inculcate a reading culture in a school that will lead to life-long learning; to mobilise social partners for support; and to encourage the spirit of volunteerism in reading promotion. Workshops will be made available for stakeholders and implementing partners as part of the preparations for the DBE Reading Clubs’ Competition in 2019.

For additional information on Reading Clubs, click on the following link:


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