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Floella Benjamin on the importance of reading

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When Baroness Floella Benjamin featured on the much loved children’s television series, Jackanory and presented Play School, Play Away and Fast Forward in the 70s and 80s, children’s lives were vastly different. Children’s TV after school, playing with their friends and a book before bedtime were the standard ingredients to a happy childhood.

But now in 2012, a child’s life is very different and many would argue more complicated.

With computer games, smart phones, hundreds of TV channels and the world of the internet, children and their parents are spoilt for choice when it comes to entertainment.

But by overlooking some of the more simple pleasures of childhood like reading a book, are today’s children failing to learn vital skills that could give them the tools to learn and prosper as adults?

Baroness Benjamin is a huge believer in the power of books and reading in the lives of our children and she’s backing a scheme which will also help children in less fortunate parts of the world discover the incredible world of books.

The school-led initiative, which is being run by The South African Fruits Industry, is calling on children and schools across the UK to start collecting books, perhaps gathering dust on shelves at home, to donate to underprivileged farm and rural schools throughout South Africa.

Schools will also be encouraged to produce a project book demonstrating their knowledge of South African culture with three schools to win cash prizes to spend on school resources.

With only 20% of schools in South African having libraries, illiteracy is unsurprisingly a huge problem and the initiative hopes to show UK children how lucky they are to have access to so many wonderful books and at the same time provide children in South Africa with the gift of reading.

Log into our live and interactive webTV show to find out more about the Help a South African School Competition, learn more about how you and your children can help and how to get your children reading more.

For more information visit  www.beautifulcountrybeautifulfruit.com

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