Bookworms can now sign up and join the President’s Reading Circle – a virtual book club – to enjoy recommended page turners.
President Cyril Ramaphosa’s reading circle, an offshoot of the National Reading Coalition (NRC), offers book lovers a chance to get lost in the world of books and share their views on the books with the President through the chat service on the site.
“President’s Reading Circle is a home for passionate, veteran readers and those who are in the first thralls of their exploration with words and ideas.
“This is where we share current and past reads; where we compliment and critique writers and their readers, and where we engage with seriousness and fun for the sake of building a community around reading and all it inspires,” said the NRC.
The NRC was established by the National Education Collaboration Trust (NECT) and the Department of Basic Education (DBE) as a comprehensive national response to the reading challenges facing South Africa.
The President’s Reading Circle brings together NECT, NRC, the Department of Basic Education (DBE), Read to Lead, National Library of South African (NLSA), Department of Arts and Culture (DAC), Government Communication and Information System (GCIS) and the National Development Plan (NDP) in a social initiative that is intended to change lives and transform society.
The reading circle answers the call by President Ramaphosa, a champion reader and published author, for South Africans to experience and indulge in the joy of reading.
In his State of the Nation Address in June, President Ramaphosa emphasised the importance of cultivating a reading nation to unlock opportunities that flow from a broadened understanding of the country and the world.
In 2016, South Africa was ranked last out of 50 countries in the Progress in International Reading Literacy (PIRLS) study which tested reading comprehension of Grade 4 learners. The study found that 78% of South African pupils at this level could not read for meaning.
Additionally, in South Africa 5 000 book sales make a bestseller cementing the poor levels of reading.
The reading circle seeks to address this poor culture of reading.
“We are witnessing the emergence of a new generation of writers who are narrating the story of a 21st century South Africa through diverse storylines that reflect a rapidly transforming society.
“Through increased access to education, new generations of readers are emerging as well, presenting new audiences and markets but, more importantly, broadened insights and the openness and tolerance that flows from turning page after page,” said the NRC.
Sign up for the #ReadingRevolution here.