Learning to speak in the mother tongue is key to a child’s overall development and benefits the learners in many ways. It connects him to his culture, ensures better cognitive development, and aids in the learning of other languages. These are the reasons why De Aar Solar Power Spelling Bee competition has included vernacular languages to its annual event.

“Afrikaans, Setswana and isiXhosa are now included in our Spelling Bee, making it more accessible for many of the learners from De Aar, Hanover and Britstown,” explained Hlengiwe Radebe, Economic Development Director of De Aar Solar Power.

The top shortlisted thirty ‘spellers’ participated in this Spelling Bee on Saturday, 10 March 2018, at the Kareeville Primary School, Ceder Road, Kareeville. It is funded as part of De Aar Solar Power’s literacy programme and tests reading, not memory, so learners should therefore prepare for these types of events by increasing their reading and understanding of how words are constructed and how letter sounds work together.

Participants are also now provided with Nal’ibali reading materials to help with preparing for the contest. Nal’ibali is a national reading-for-enjoyment campaign built on the simple logic that literacy skills are a strong predictor of future academic success in all subjects – and children who regularly read and hear engaging stories, in languages they understand, are well equipped and motivated to learn to read and write.

First prize was handed to Emmanuel Stuurman, from Kareeville Primary School who took the title home with the winning word ‘astounding’.  The second and third places were awarded to Siyambulela Ngcongco (Emthanjeni Primary School) and Brandonlee Sekoei (Hanover Primary School), respectively.

A spelling bee is a competition in which contestants are asked to spell a broad selection of words, usually with a varying degree of difficulty. These competitions are recognised as offering a range of benefits, from higher confidence to better vocabulary.

These types of competitions not only provide a valuable educational experience for the participating learners, but also allow them to engage in healthy competition. Other benefits derived from this fun activity include team building, improved grammar, building a competitive spirit, increased knowledge of the origin of words, developing cognitive skills including the ability to handle pressure; and most importantly, these events help to boost a child’s confidence level as they gain self-assurance through learning to speak in public.

The event was supported and attended by parents, principals, teachers, friends and family as well as representatives from the Department of Education’s Intermediate Phase.  Each participant was awarded with a medal and a cash prize, with the first place prize winner taking home a trophy, medal and a cash prize.

This event forms part of Droogfontein Solar Power’s ongoing literacy programme that supports the Department of Education’s literacy objectives.  Furthermore, the prior selection process ensures that the standard of the Spelling Bee is kept in line with national and international standards.

Participating schools include: Alpha Primary, Kareeville Primary, Willie Theron Primary, Zingisani Primary, Emthanjeni Primary, St Johns Primary, Van Rensburg Primary, Luvuyo Primary Hanover Primary and Hayes Primary.
“It is important that our learners have the opportunity to learn and compete in a supportive environment and gain skills such as improved memory and the art of presenting in public,” concluded Radebe.

Saturday, 10 March 2018

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