SA’s youngest children are not read to enough

Reading is an important form of stimulation and teaches babies and children about communication; introduces them to numbers, letters, colours, and shapes; develops their listening, memory and vocabulary skills; and enables them to understand the world around them.

Despite evidence supporting that babies should be read to from day one, data collected during the General Household Survey 2016 shows that half of children under 2 are never read to. The good news is that the regularity of being read to does increase as children get older – but not by enough. A third of South African children under 5 don’t get read to at all.

Mission
Ilifa Labantwana works to secure an equal start for all children living in South Africa, through universal access to quality early childhood development.

Data

SA children 0-5 being read to    

Reading is an important form of stimulation and teaches babies and children about communication; introduces them to numbers, letters, colours and shapes; develops their listening, memory and vocabulary skills; and enables them to understand the world around them.

Despite evidence supporting that babies should be read to from day one, data collected during the General Household Survey 2016 shows that half of children under 2 are never read to. The good news is that the regularity of being read to does increase as children get older – but not by enough. A third of South African children under 5 don’t get read to at all.

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  • There are 6 million children aged 0 – 5 years in South Africa. 100%
  • 4 million of them receive the Child Support Grant and they need subsidised early learning. 66%
  • Only 1 million of children who need subsidised early learning – or 25% – are receiving it. 25%