• 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

"Statistics South Africa (Stats SA) has revealed that nearly half of South Africa's children have never read a book with a parent, raising questions about whether or not there has been a culture of reading harnessed in the country. Puku Foundation executive director Elinor Sisulu has provided context to the problem, with a look at the history of the migrant labour system which has lead to the absence of parents."

Listen to the interview on Cape Talk

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).

 

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. 

shinelogoShine Literacy seeks to create more reading opportunities for children in schools and in the greater community, working with schools directly to develop approaches that are relevant, effective and sustainable. Their main focus as an organisation is foundational phase literacy

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.

 

  • 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

 

"If basic skills are not acquired and learners are pushed through school, it can have dire consequences for their future development, write Tholisa Matheza and Dianne Hendricks.
While tabling her budget vote in May last year, Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga proposed a progression policy which would see struggling learners from grades R to 3 (Foundation Phase) be advanced through primary school without having to repeat a grade, even if certain educational milestones had not been achieved. "

Read more in News24

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

"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

Together with its partners Edupeg, Shine Literacy and Nal’iBali, VW For Good developed and implemented a comprehensive literacy programme, based on a baseline study conducted by Rhodes University and UNISA.

It focuses on the three main components which were identified as the most critical for a balanced literacy programme (the learners, teachers, parents and caregivers).

 

casestudieslit

 

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.

 

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.

The Bookery, previously a project of Equal Education, facilitates the development of support structures in under-resourced schools to create an optimal environment in which to deliver sustained literacy programmes. Our interest in school libraries is not simply the establishment of spaces where books leave shelves and return in an orderly manner. Rather, we aim to develop school libraries as spaces that engender creativity, learning, critical thinking, literacy development and a desire to explore knowledge. In this article we share what we believe to be the most important features of a dynamic, well functioning library - and some of the lessons we learned in the process of creating them.

This includes:

·         Provision of Adequate and Relevant Resources

·         Buy-In from the School Community

·         Having the Right People as Librarians or Library Assistants

Read the case study: How to create school libraries that support self-directed approaches to learning

The Bookery, previously a project of Equal Education, facilitates the development of support structures in under-resourced schools to create an optimal environment in which to deliver sustained literacy programmes. Our interest in school libraries is not simply the establishment of spaces where books leave shelves and return in an orderly manner. Rather, we aim to develop school libraries as spaces that engender creativity, learning, critical thinking, literacy development and a desire to explore knowledge. In this article we share what we believe to be the most important features of a dynamic, well functioning library - and some of the lessons we learned in the process of creating them.

This includes:

·         Provision of Adequate and Relevant Resources

·         Buy-In from the School Community

·         Having the Right People as Librarians or Library Assistants

Read the case study: How to create school libraries that support self-directed approaches to learning

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. 

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.

"A report in the Times has quoted a secondary school teacher who complained that their year 7 intake no longer knew how to tell a story. “They knew what a fronted adverbial was, and how to spot an internal clause, and even what a preposition was – but when I set them a task to write a story, they broke down and cried,” reported the teacher. The fact that no importance is placed on storytelling makes me very frustrated not only because it puts so little value or emphasis on children’s creativity, but also because storytelling is more than simply an art – it is a crucial skill for life and commerce.

Read more in the Guardian

Functional literacy is the gateway to all learning, including numeracy. However, the majority of children in South Africa’s poorest areas are unable to read with comprehension after five years of schooling.

Through its broad-based Legacy Literacy Programme, VW For Good's goal is for all learners in Uitenhage to be functionally literate by the end of grade 3.

"Every child aged between birth and five years should have access to high quality language, literacy and mathematics learning opportunities, which are delivered by skilled ECD practitioners and are available in all early years settings, including the home.

This briefing looks at why the period between birth and five years is such a crucial formative time for a child, setting the trajectory for their school years and beyond. It explains how the benefits of investing in this period are deep and wide, providing the foundations not only for individual flourishing, but also for a successful education system, a stronger society, and more efficient public spending. High quality opportunities for language, literacy and maths learning have been shown to be an essential element of any successful early years programme, and consider how and why language is at the heart of all learning."

Download the Policy brief here

 

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