Large numbers of South African children struggle to understand what they are reading.
In fact, South Africa was placed last out of 50 countries in the recently released Progress in International Reading Literacy Study (PIRLS). The study found that 8 out of 10 Grade 4 learners cannot read for meaning. If children can’t read, they can’t learn, so are more likely to be trapped in the scourge of poverty, hopelessness and unemployment. Being able to read enables children to live a better future.
Breakthrough to Literacy (BTL), a mother-tongue literacy course for Grades 1 to 3, is very powerful in teaching children to read with comprehension. The programme also develops their writing and listening skills.
Published by the Molteno Institute for Language and Literacy, the BTL method utilises as the basis for learning to read and write, the aural and oral language skills the child brings into the classroom from home.
Read more in NGO Pulse
These days parents, caregivers and teachers have lots of options when it comes to fulfilling that request. You can read a picture book, put on a cartoon, play an audiobook, or even ask Alexa.
A newly published study gives some insight into what may be happening inside young children's brains in each of those situations. And, says lead author Dr. John Hutton, there is an apparent "Goldilocks effect" — some kinds of storytelling may be "too cold" for children, while others are "too hot." And, of course, some are "just right."
Hutton is a researcher and pediatrician at Cincinnati Children's Hospital with a special interest in "emergent literacy" — the process of learning to read.
Read more about the findings on nprEd
Growing up, Gadija Sydow Noordien discovered a new world each time she opened a book. She travelled with characters as they embarked upon fantastical adventures, escaping into the excitement of stories. The daughter of a cleaner, Noordien was exposed to books through her mother’s work at Westridge Public Library, and left school after completing Grade 10. Noordien then became a shelf-packer at Westridge, a constant source of comfort. She knew she had more to offer, but never expected to have a library of her own. Today she does just that, sharing the magic of words with over 700 children.
Read more in BeautifulNews
- Eight out of every ten children in the country cannot read in any language.
- Among Setswana and Sepedi home language learners the figure is over 90%.
- What South Africa needs is to decide what Japan decided in 1872, that “there must be no community with an illiterate family, nor a family with an illiterate person”. This became Japan’s ‘Fundamental Code of Education’. Within decades they had successfully eradicated illiteracy.
- What South Africa needs is a Marshall Plan for Reading. We need you to use yourpresidency to mobilise our country behind one goal:That all children can read for meaning by the end of Grade 3.
Read more in the Daily Maverick
There’s a reason the PIRLS test targeted Grade Fours. The age is a tipping point: if a child remains functionally illiterate at age nine, there is a strong correlation to them remaining so, which in turn leads to an inevitably steep school drop-out shelf.
A 78% illiteracy rate in Grade Four means the next generation will enter the workforce without these very basic skills needed to raise themselves out of poverty. It means a generation without the capacity to learn, to teach, to lead. More alarmingly, it means a generation unable to pass along literacy to their own children, exacerbating the situation still further with every passing year.\
Nal’ibali operates country-wide to spark children’s potential by creating opportunities for children to fall in love with books and stories in home languages as well as English.
Read more about Nal’ibali's literacy interventions in BooksLive