Opti-baby and kids are excited to introduce our Home Book Bag Reading Project in which our parents, have a pivotal role to contribute to building a foundation for their child’s future academic success. The idea is to provide a special fun home reading resource for parents and kids to enjoy together while also supporting local income generating projects.
One of the many reasons for introducing this project, is to contribute towards reducing the appalling South African level of literacy which places South Africa last in the world ranking of 50 countries. The Progress in International Reading Literacy Study (PIRLS, 2016) found that 80% of South African Grade 4 children cannot read at the lowest international benchmark for reading and this poor reading ability is known to inhibit a child’s later academic success.
Reading to your child every day is one way to improve literacy skills, extend vocabulary and conversational language and help to forge a warm emotional attachment between you and your child. When children enjoy this daily routine with their parents, they connect reading with positive feelings for books which will persist once they are at school. Sharing different books together will encourage curiosity and imagination, help your child to cope with strong emotions caused by new events and learn to know the difference between reality and fantasy.
We have also linked this project with a community outreach component to support local income generating projects. We have sourced the shwe-shwe fabric book bags from the Khulani Creatives project in Alexandra and our knitted reading mascots (the Opti Elly) have been made by a Pretoria street vendor who supports her extended family in this way.
Why did we choose the Elephant as our reading mascot?
We looked for an animal which was admired throughout the world and which had symbolic meaning for this reading bag project. Elephants have a strong focus on family and are gentle animals whose adults who are very protective of their young. They symbolize wisdom, intellect, experience, patience, good luck and endurance and these are all qualities which we believe will characterise this parent-child-school project.
How will it work?
Every few weeks a child will have a turn to take home this special book bag containing the Opti Elly and a children’s book for them to share with their parents.
We encourage parents to snuggle up with their kids and our Opti Elly and enjoy the book together.