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Case Studies and Examples

Nal'ibali Literacy Programme

Nal’ibali is a national reading-for-enjoyment campaign to spark children’s potential through storytelling and reading. The  organisation distributes bilingual supplements that provide children with access to free and relevant reading material that will inspire a lifelong love of reading. Nal’ibali also organises story times and reading clubs at schools, early childhood development (ECD) centres, as well as within the broader communities.

Together with Nal’ibali, VW For Good has supported the creation of 25 reading clubs at the five schools in the programme, and another 11 reading and ‘story play’ clubs at ECD and community centres in Uitenhage.

[VOLKSWAGEN SA] Literacy: a social justice imperative

Despite considerable government and private investment into the formal teaching and learning of literacy at schools, as well as the informal promotion of literacy in communities, the 2016 Progress in International Reading Literacy Study (PIRLS) found that eight out of 10 or 78% of South African children in grade four could not read for meaning in any language. The same study ranked South Africa last out of 50 countries for literacy. Volkswagen SA has been on a journey since 2015 to ensure that children in Uitenhage are functionally literate by the end of grade three. The company’s approach to this focus area has expanded from the recognition that literacy is the cornerstone of quality education and the gateway to numerical competency, to advocating for the support of literacy as a social justice imperative.


Read more: [VOLKSWAGEN SA] Literacy: a social justice imperative

Shine Literacy Centre

Shine Literacy provides individualised support to children in grades 2 and 3 who are at risk of falling behind. Children are paired with a trained volunteer with whom they work once or twice a week during the school day, over a period of at least one year. Shine also ensures that classrooms are equipped with multicultural age-appropriate storybooks to promote a culture of reading throughout the school. Paired and shared partnerships enable younger children to receive help and mentorship from older learners within their schools.

Volkswagen has partnered with Shine to implement this method in its five supported schools, as well as to open a Shine Chapter at Ntlemeza Primary School, launched in March 2017. The aim is to open a literacy centre at each of the five schools.

Shine Literacy workshops have reached 786 learners in the area, and 33 learners are currently part of the Shine Literacy Hour Programme at Ntlemeza School. By the end of 2017, there will be six operational Shine Family Literacy Workshops and associated clinic literacy programmes in Uitenhage.

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[Case Study] Wordworks

Wordworks deliver resource-based training and capacity building for individuals, schools, ECD centres, organisations and institutions to use our materials and to implement early language and literacy programmes in their communities. We encourage and support partners to integrate programmes into their existing work, monitor programme implementation, share learning and build their capacity to become trainers. 


Read more: [Case Study] Wordworks

Case study: Helping children read for joy in rural settings (Axium Education)

Axium Education, based in rural Eastern Cape, is bridging the gap between home and school literacy through a reading programme featuring community readers or “Nobalisas”.  Nobalisa’s are young adults from the surrounding area who are being upskilled through the programme, and are becoming advocates for literacy in their community. In this article, Axium provides the details of their programme, implementation experiences and lessons learned.

Read more: Case study: Helping children read for joy in rural settings (Axium Education)

Corporate Practice: Growing learners and enhancing primary education in the Western Cape

The Western Cape identified the unacceptably low literacy levels in their schools as a cause for major concern, since the literacy levels in South African schools are among the lowest globally. This resulted in the birth of Growsmart, an annual inter-school literacy competition aimed at changing awareness and learning behaviour in the school community and tangibly benefiting previously disadvantaged schools and learners, sponsored by Growthpoint.

  • In order to effectively run the competition, Growthpoint engages various stakeholders.
  • The winning school receives an iSchool Africa iPad Learning Lab to the value of R 250 000.
  • In February 2014, a new element was added to Growsmart which takes the literacy initiative one step further – that of a story writing competition.
  • Ongoing monitoring and evaluation take place both during the competition and in the form of long-term intervention at the winning school.

Read more: Corporate Practice: Growing learners and enhancing primary education in the Western Cape

[Case Study] Molteno Institute for Language and Literacy NPC

We provide professional development of teachers through the following avenues: 

  • Developing early literacy content that is appropriate to different age groups with different needs;
  • Providing quality training, coaching and mentoring to teachers, heads of department, and subject advisors on early grade reading, specialising in African languages;
  • Empowering our own staff with up-to-date skills training on early grade reading theories and practice.

Our focus areas are language and literacy content development, specialising in mother tongue or African indigenous languages, and English Second Language (ESL).


Read more: [Case Study] Molteno Institute for Language and Literacy NPC

Corporate Practice: Driving functional literacy in primary schools (VW Community Trust)

vwsmallThe Volkswagen Community Trust’s Literacy Programme was launched in 2015. To establish what would be required by such a programme, Volkswagen consulted with key non-profit organisations (NPO) in the sector, universities and academics, the Department of Basic Education, parents, teachers, school governing bodies and the community at large.

Using the results and recommendations indicated in the study, Volkswagen has designed and implemented a comprehensive literacy intervention in five Uitenhage primary schools. The goal of the project is to ensure that learners are functionally literate by the time they reach age 10, or grade 3. 

Read more: Corporate Practice: Driving functional literacy in primary schools (VW Community Trust)

[Case Study] Nal’ibali

Nali iBali logo

Nal’ibali (isiXhosa for “here’s the story”) is South Africa’s reading-for-enjoyment campaign. It makes use of reading and storytelling in home languages as well as English to support children’s literacy learning and school success. It is one of the biggest literacy-based nongovernmental organisations in South Africa. It was initiated in 2012 by the DG Murray Trust and the Project for the Study of Alternative Education in South Africa (PRAESA). 

Nal’ibali is built on the simple logic that a well-established culture of reading can be a real game-changer for education in South Africa. Literacy skills are a strong predictor of future academic success in all subjects – and children who regularly read and hear engaging stories, in languages they understand, are well equipped and motivated to learn to read and write. A significant body of research reinforces the link between reading for pleasure and improved outcomes for children. 

Read more: [Case Study] Nal’ibali