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Wimpy partners with Ethnikids to launch series of children’s books

Wimpy partners with Ethnikids to launch series of children’s books

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With September being National Literacy Month as well as Heritage Month, Wimpy has partnered with Ethnikids, an online bookstore started by five moms, to launch an exclusive series of children's books celebrating South Africa's diversity and heritage.

The children's books, which Wimpy launched on Wednesday, are also aimed at igniting a love for reading.

The books embrace the vibrant heritage of South African folk tales in all 11 official languages, including Khoe/Nama. The titles include “Thokzani the Eland”, “The Hadeda and the Storm”, “Huan Lucky Fish” and “The Baboon, the Dassie and the Berries”.

At the media launch in Johannesburg, author Sihle’isipho Nontshokweni treated parents and children to a reading of “Chicharito”.

Wimpy partners with Ethnikids to launch series of children’s books
Author Sihle'isipho Nontshokweni narrates the story of "Chicarito". Picture: Itumeleng English/African News Agency(ANA)

Nontshokweni brought the story to life with her exceptional storytelling skills.

Storytime is an amazing time for parents to bond with their children. Reading to children is an essential part of their development, especially young children who are finding their way.

Radio presenter Bunny Majaja, who was the MC, treated the parents and children to kamishibai, a form of Japanese street theatre storytelling, with an African twist.

Encouraging children to read has become a focal point of many parents as the country is faces a literacy crisis, with 80% of 10-year-olds unable to read in their native languages

Educational psychologist Seago Maapola shared more insight into this and stressed the importance of encouraging reading.

Maapola said that before the Covid-19 pandemic, literacy levels in the country were worrying and they had worsened when lockdowns interrupted schooling.

While educators are helping learners read, parents also needed to do their part to bridge the gap.

“Pre-pandemic, an average Grade 4 child was reading on the level of a child in Grade 3. Post-Covid, we have seen that there has been a 15-month delay, where they are now reading at a much lower level than they are supposed to be.

Wimpy partners with Ethnikids to launch series of children’s books
Ethnikids and Wimpy launching their online children’s bookstore at the V and A Waterfront. Photographer: Ayanda Ndamane African News (ANA)

“With that being said, it’s important to take note that literacy is not something that has to be taught only at school. It also has to be taught in the home. The best way that we can do that is to read to our children,” Maapola said.

She also touched on the educational impact of children reading books in their mother tongue and being able to relate to the content in African stories.

“There is a misconception that home learning languages is a waste of time.

“Being bilingual is an asset, and the home language has a continuing and significant role in identity in learning and the acquisition of other languages.

"If anything, it has great benefits that will help our children for academic and future success.”

One of the best ways to encourage reading is to introduce children to books that contain characters of colour they can identify with and build self-confidence and a positive self-image. Books like those help breed tolerance and an understanding of other cultures.

The English books are avail at Wimpy restaurants and the translated versions are available for free download in audio or online here.

Original Article

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