For Parents

Parents can play a crucial role in encouraging their child’s reading.

We all know that reading is vital for learning and success at school. But what you may not know, is that reading for enjoyment is just as important as reading for learning.

Reading for pleasure helps a child to:

  • Discover new ideas and concepts that build the foundation for school subjects.
  • Develop a wide vocabulary and better language skills.
  • Explore new experiences through the safety of books.
  • Develop imagination and creative thinking.
  • Develop emotional intelligence and empathy.

Another benefit of spending time reading to your child is that it strengthens your relationship with them. Reading together is one of the greatest gifts that a parent can give to their child.


Use the Ulwazi Lwethu Storybooks to assist your child’s reading journey!

Where do I start?

Make a commitment

  • Set aside time every day to read to your child. A bedtime story is a great way to do this.
  • Try to establish this habit long before your child learns to read and keep the habit going as long as you can.

Be a good role model

  • Be a reader yourself. Have books, newspapers and magazines at home – let your child see you reading.
  • Take your child to libraries and bookshops – new and second-hand bookshops.
  • When you read aloud to a child, read with interest and enthusiasm.

Focus on enjoyment

  • Reading for schoolwork should never take the place of reading for pleasure because both are important;
  • Children need time to do both.
  • Don’t put pressure on your child about the reading level or subject matter of the books they read for enjoyment.
  • Don’t rule out comics, graphic novels, and magazines because all reading is good practice.

Storybook levels are clearly explained and will guide your storybook selection process.

Levels Description
Level 1 - First words Single words or a short simple sentence; up to 11 words per page.
Level 2 - First sentences Two or three short sentences; 11–25 words per page.
Level 3 - First paragraphs One or two short paragraphs; 26–51 words per page.
Level 4 - Longer paragraphs Two or more paragraphs; 51–75 words per page.
Level 5 - Read aloud Fewer pictures; more than 76 words per page.

These levels refer to the reading level of a child and have no significance on the grade of a learner.

Graded Readers

The Ulwazi Lwethu Graded Readers are an excellent way to introduce young learners to reading in their mother tongue – making language learning fun!

Genuine and original stories that resonate with all South African people’s heritages and histories provide materials that instil a love for reading, words and language learning.

Graded readers are levelled to systematically improve the reading fluency and comprehension skills of Foundation Phase learners:

Levels Description Recommended for Grades
Early Emergent R
Level 1 Emergent 1
Level 2 Developing 1, 2
Level 3 Early fluent 2, 3
Level 4 Fluent 3
Level 5 Independent 3

Parent Guide

The Parent Guide assists caregivers and parents to choose the right level of storybooks for their child/ren. The Guide also assists to find topics that may interest them and provides guidance on how to use the storybooks to engage with children. The Parent Guide is translated into all Ulwazi Lwethu languages.

Parent Guide

Quick Facts

Storybooks in 11 languages (adding English and a limited number of isiMpondo to the nine indigenous languages).
Each graded reader has an accompanying worksheet to reread the text to construct meaning of what they read.
Fiction and non-fiction storybooks have been developed with increasing levels of difficulty.
All material has been written by African language experts, illustrated by African artists.
Ulwazi Lwethu books have been quality assured by the University of Pretoria, Department of Early Childhood Literacy.

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