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Saide Story Development Overview

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Sheila Drew
16 January 2013

Story Development Course


Extensive research shows that the reading literacy levels of African children after the first three years of schooling are far from adequate, both in the basic ability to read as well as the literacy necessary to proceed to the next level of schooling. In order to ensure that early readers attach to reading and that reading becomes a social practice in schools, communities and homes, parents, communities and teachers need to work together. However, there is a drastic shortage of appropriate local African language stories for early literacy development for African children.

One of many solutions

The South African Institute for Distance Education (Saide) is involved in a project called the African Storybook Project. The aim is to build a digital library of children’s stories, for children ranging from 3-9 years old, drawing on African oral literature and traditions of storytelling, on high quality published stories that the copyright holders are willing to donate, on openly licensed material already available on the Web, and on stories developed through workshops and competitions specifically for the project.

As part of the OLDS MOOC the Saide team would like to design a Story Development course that can support people who want to develop stories for and with children, and who want to contribute their own stories to the digital library.

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Lesley Shield
9:47am 16 January 2013

This looks fascinating, Sheila. I know very little about digital storytelling, but I'd be interested in finding out more via this study circle!


Sheila Drew
9:57am 16 January 2013

Hi Lesley

There may be some component on digital storytelling, but I suspect the course will be more general about how to develop stories for and with young children, some of which we hope will be posted in the digital library. But given our context where many people still don't have reliable access to good internet we anticipate that many of the stories will be told face to face, though they may be accessed from the digital libray directly or indirectly (such as through a field worker).

If you would like to participate or follow us you can go to our study circle at


Lesley Shield
10:39am 16 January 2013

Ok, sounds interesting. I came across something 'similar but different' in terms of storytelling in remote communities in Australia some time ago. Must try to dig out the reference...


Sheila Drew
11:14am 16 January 2013

Would love it if you could do that. Thanks.

Lesley Shield
1:04pm 16 January 2013

It was a cross between the 'hole in the wall' and collecting stories from/for the community, if I recall correctly. Fascinating - and quite a long time ago. I'll do my best!

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