A literate population is informed to make good choices, to improve their standards of living, and to contribute to the economy. However, in South Africa, many children struggle to read for meaning. Breakthrough to Literacy (BTL), Molteno Institute for Language and Literacy NPC’s mother-tongue literacy course for grades 1 to 3, helps children across Africa to read, listen, and write.
In the 2016 Progress in International Reading Study (PIRLS), it was found that 80 percent of South African learners in grade 4 can’t read for meaning. This prevents children from learning, and creates many other barriers to development. Many children who struggle to read in English, their language of instruction at school, also struggle to read in their mother tongue.
What is the Breakthrough to Literacy programme?
Breakthrough to Literary is a mother-tongue literacy programme that uses learner-centred approaches and language experience approaches. It uses the aural and oral language skills that children bring from home to help them learn to read and write in the classroom. Molteno has developed the programme in seven African languages: Sepedi, Tshivenḓa, Xitsonga, Setswana, isiNdebele, isiZulu and isiXhosa. The programme has been adopted successfully in eight African countries.
The Breakthrough to Literacy programme originated in the UK, and proved highly successful. Rhodes University, where the Molteno Institute of language and Literacy is based, bought the rights to adapt and translate the programme. It was first developed and piloted in isiXhosa.
Molteno and Obongo Learning of Zambia were named Laureates for the 2020 cycle of Al-Sumait Prize for African Development in Education for this programme.
Molteno’s supporters include UNESCO, Anglo American, and First National Bank.