For the past four years, collaborating with the Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory, Cape Town based NGO Breadline Africa, has provided 52 container libraries to schools across the country.
The libraries help foster a love of reading and provide an opportunity to children, many of whom hardly ever see a reading book, to come into contact with picture and story books.
Through the generosity of companies and donors, Breadline Africa has reached public primary school going children in nine provinces, many of whom are entering the world of reading for the first time.
25 February: The Mandela Day Libraries Project received a real treat today as 2 000 children’s books were donated. Donor, Wayne Mills started the Kids Lit Quiz, a literature quiz for primary school children based on the last 2 000 years of children’s books – over 20 years ago. The books form part of Mills’ personal collection – he is the international quizmaster of the Kids Lit Quiz and past lecturer in children’s literature at the School of Education at the University of Auckland. Mills has read every book he bases his questions on. Now that he has retired from the University, has decided to downscale and decided to donate the collection of books to needy schools in South Africa. He wanted the books to form two collections and be donated to two schools. The University of Auckland and Breadline Africa funded the cost of transporting and packaging and importing of the books.
Alpine Primary School in the Western Cape and Magudu Primary School in Mpumalanga were selected as recipients because they are doing an incredible job of integrating their libraries into the school. Breadline Africa believes in rewarding those schools that are making an effort to develop learners in different ways. Literacy has reached critically low levels in South African schools, with the Annual National Assessment results for English First Additional Language at Grade 6 being 45%, which is a 1% drop on the previous year.
Mills is in SA now to run the Kids Lit Quiz and is very supportive of its sister quiz, the Phendulani Literacy Quiz in SA, of which BLA is a partner. He started the Kids Lit Quiz as a champion of reading and in 2008 he was awarded the Margaret Mahy Medal for services to children’s literature.
In 2011 he was made a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit.
Mills promotes the concept of a literature quiz because:
• It offers reading challenges;
• It broadens literary awareness;
• It fosters positive attitudes towards reading;
• It motivates students to read;
• It provides a literary focus for schools to extend their students reading mileage and knowledge of literature;
• It’s highly motivating; and
• It promotes tolerance through learning about other cultures.
Breadline Africa commends Wayne Mills for his lifetime contribution to children’s literacy. We value the donation and know that his incredible collection will be appreciated by our school educators and learners.
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