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Educational Research for Social Change

versión On-line ISSN 2221-4070


ΗAESE, Adrle  y  COSTANDLUS, Elmarle. Dithakga Tša Gobala: A Collaborative Book Creation Project. Educ. res. soc. change [online]. 2021, vol.10, n.1, pp.52-69. ISSN 2221-4070.

A 2018 survey (Statistics South Africa, n.d.) reported that almost half of South African children aged four years had never read a book with their parents. In light of the current literacy crisis that South Africa is experiencing, providing appropriate materials to encourage and aid reading and storytelling activities is increasingly important but remains a challenge. Wordless picturebooks are an under researched literary genre in the South African context but, we argue, they can be used to spark a culture and love of reading because they can be enjoyed by readers of various backgrounds, language preferences, and literacy levels. Using participative research, the Dithakga Tsa Gobala project investigated whether and how the development of wordless picturebooks in local communities could help parents engage in cognitively stimulating activities such as shared reading and storytelling. Stories sourced from two communities were used to create a series of wordless picturebooks that were then circulated in the communities. Initial results indicated that not only did the project have a positive impact on the participants' self-concept and their relationship with reading, but that the books were also positively received by the wider community. Results indicated that the books were easy to use, created positive parent-child experiences, encouraged imagination, and that the content of the books was relatable. Challenges that arose included issues of authorship and misunderstandings between authors and illustrators. Nevertheless, the findings suggest that wordless picturebooks are a valuable genre in the South African reading landscape and that a participatory model for creating relevant, local content for reading is not only viable but also beneficial for communities and other stakeholders.

Palabras clave : book creation; children's literature; illustration; reading; wordless picturebooks.

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