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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.

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

Tags: Literacy

  • 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

Being able to read and write depends on oral language abilities that begin developing from the earliest days in a child’s life. Through nurturing relationships, critical brain connections are made that will support a child’s language development. Children who grow up in language-rich environments have a better vocabulary at the age of three and four, and this correlates with reading comprehension at the age of nine. Our grade fours are failing not only because of the quality of teaching of reading in grades one to three but also because they missed out on critical early learning experiences from birth to the age of five.

Read more in the Mail&Guardian

  • Almost four in five Grade 4 pupils fall below the lowest internationally recognised level of reading literacy‚ and South Africa is last out of 50 countries in the Progress in International Reading Literacy Study (Pirls).
  • Professor Sarah Howie‚ the Pirls co-ordinator for South Africa‚ said the results suggested most pupils cannot read well enough to succeed in subjects across the curriculum in Grade 4 and higher grades.
  • “While less than half of the learners who wrote the tests in English and Afrikaans could read‚ 80% of those learning in one of the other nine official languages effectively cannot read at all.”

Read more in TimesLive

 

Not only the economy will suffer from a labour force that is poorly educated but our democracy itself will also be poorer if citizens cannot enjoy their civil and political rights meaningfully in the absence of a culture of reading, and reading with comprehension.

It is impossible to exaggerate the stakes. A deliberative and participatory model of democracy presupposes a critical mass of citizens who read, and who do so with comprehension. That means the democratic project is fatally wounded without an urgent national plan to teach teachers how to teach reading better and to ensure well-stocked public libraries in all our communities and one in every school, as well as developing and entrenching a culture of reading and of enjoying books, as much as our children love technology.

Read more in Mail&Guardian

  • In a comparative study among 50 countries, South Africa placed last in the measurement of the reading skill set of Grade 4 learners.
  • 702/CapeTalk host Eusebius McKaiser said that the young are being set up for guaranteed failure, and democracy in itself is in trouble if our children cannot read with comprehension.
  • Stephen Taylor, Director of Research at the Department of Basic Education: 
    • Early reading outcomes are strongly predictive of later education outcomes like getting to matric.
    • If we look at between 2006 and 2011 there actually does seem to be an improvement. 

Read more and listen to the podcast on Cape Talk

Government should consider teaching subjects in indigenous languages or strengthening the learning of English if it wants to improve results in basic education‚ Wits University education expert Professor Mary Metcalfe has said.

Metcalfe spoke to TimesLIVE after delivering the annual JB Marks Memorial Lecture at the University of Johannesburg on Tuesday night.

During her interactive session with students‚ unionists and academics‚ she laid bare the serious challenges that the South African education system is facing.

One of the problems faced in education was the fact that children were not taught in their mother tongue‚ which affected their ability to understand concepts.

Read more in Times Live

Tags: Education Mother Tongue Education

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