Download a story for World Read Aloud Day

Nal'ibali hopes to get 1,5 million SA children reading on February 1

Nali'bali is marking World Read Aloud Day on Friday, February 1 2019
Nali'bali is marking World Read Aloud Day on Friday, February 1 2019

Friday February 1 is World Read Aloud Day and South African NGO Nal'ibali is offering a story to download to focus on reading for enjoyment on the day.

Nal’ibali managing director Jade Jacobsohn said this year's story is Where Are You?’ written by Ann Walton, a well known South African author and illustrator of children’s books.

"Every year we commission a brand-new story and translate it into all 11 official SA languages," Jacobsohn said. "Then we encourage adults and caregivers across the country, to join us in reading it aloud to children on WRAD."

The story (along with several others) can be downloaded from the Nal'ibali website.

"We’d like to encourage South Africans to register that they will be reading aloud and to share pictures of their reading sessions online," Jacobsohn said.

The NGO sees huge potential in South Africa to turn the country's literacy crisis around so that reading becomes a powerful tool to tackle inequality and poverty. 

It agrees with the words of the late president Nelson Mandela who said "education is the most powerful weapon you can use to change the world".

While education may be the most powerful weapon, reading aloud and storytelling are integral building blocks in learning.

Call to action

As the biggest literacy drive in the country, WRAD draws attention to the importance of reading aloud to children in their mother tongue.

Every year, thousands of South Africans join in the celebration. They are doing it for their children, their language and their futures.

For 2019 Nal’ibali is asking those who are already readers to not only read the story commissioned for WRAD 2019 with their children on the day, but to reach out to their networks and encourage others do the same and be part of the South Africa’s literacy solution.

Why read aloud?

Most of the teaching that happens in a child’s early years is oral.  Nal'ibali maintains that being able to recognise and understand a wide pool of words better equips them to learn and succeed in the classroom.

"The reading of a story out loud not only shows children the value of books but starts discussions, builds bonds between the reader and the audience and motivates children to learn to read and enjoy books beyond their current reading ability," says Jacobson.

 Last year, with the help of our network partners and the public, we managed to read to over a million children.

"In 2019, our aim is to beat that record and reach 1.5 million!"

To help facilitate this  and to monitor the success of WRAD, Nal’ibali asks that all participants log their reading activities on its website:

Apart from promoting the Where Are You?’story on digital and social media platforms, Nal’ibali’s network of partners, schools project – Story Powered Schools, Literacy Mentors and FUNda Leader volunteers will be reading the story aloud at reading clubs and community centres across the country. 

If you would like to join the Nal’ibali’s World Read Aloud Day:

  1. Visit or to download the official story in any of the languages.
  2. Pledge the number of children you will be reading to.
  3. Share pictures of read-aloud sessions on the Nal’ibali’s Facebook and Twitter platforms: @NalibaliSA, or use the hashtag #WRADChallenge2019 on the day.