Let's make SA a reading - and caring -country, says Garden Route family

Daughter gets municipal library membership before her first birthday

12 June 2019 - 12:09 By timeslive
Dad Victor Arries reads to daughter Tiana, who has become the youngest reader at George municipality's Conville Library.
Dad Victor Arries reads to daughter Tiana, who has become the youngest reader at George municipality's Conville Library.
Image: George municipality

Entertained by the picture books her parents read to her, young Tiana Arries became a member of a library near her George home at the age of just eight months.

"We started reading to Tiana from the age of three months. She immediately showed interest, especially in the baby rhymes that were played to her," said her father Victor Arries.

He and his wife Berildene said their aim was to inculcate the habit of reading as early as possible - and they've also discovered a side benefit: cuddle time.

“We know that reading will assist her in recognising pictures and learning words, but the most rewarding is the closeness that develops between us.

“I would like to encourage other parents to also start at the early age and make George, and ultimately South Africa, a reading country," Arries said.

The George municipality said Tiana, now almost 11 months old, became their youngest member at the Conville library at the age of eight months.

Rachel Williams, manager of George Libraries, encourages parental reading to children. "Not only does this develop the cognitive abilities of the child, but it also strengthens the bond between parent and child."

Age is not a barrier, she asserts. “It might come as a bit of a surprise to hear that babies can share books with their parents. Babies obviously cannot read. Yet, if they regularly share books with a parent or caretaker, this can be enormously helpful to their development.

"In fact, children who have had regular book-sharing adapt to school much quicker than other babies, they learn much faster, and they generally do much better at school."


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