Bellavista SHARE Puts Literacy in the Hands of the South Africa’s Learners

'Bellavista SHARE, a division of Bellavista School, recently presented a powerful solution to South Africa’s literacy crisis by introducing the Feed the Monster app, which addresses the basic building blocks of reading. Bellavista School principal Alison Scott said one of the key stumbling blocks hindering the development of reading skills in many children is the absence of reading instruction or material in their home language.

“Language instruction is a complex issue in South Africa. The hard reality is that, despite laudable efforts to ensure that all official languages are represented in our curricula, we’re still faced with a lack of resources, from teachers to schools or materials,” said Scott. “Consequently, most children find themselves learning to read in a language they have not yet properly mastered, which detracts significantly from their proficiency.”'

Read more in Springs Advertiser

Why Use a School Dictionary and Not Just Google it?

"Who needs a school dictionary these days? It’s easier to just google it, right? Wrong! Google may have the facts you’re after, but chances are the language expressing those facts is not suitable for your child’s age group, education phase1 or literacy level; and does not have the subject vocabulary as specified by the curriculum, the language used in the classroom, or the dialect unique to our country. Sometimes even simple objects or concepts, e.g. ‘rake’, are explained in language only adults will understand.2 And that’s not even taking into account spelling and grammar …

Where the South African school system is the lowest performing country in international literacy benchmark tests with 78% of learners in Grade 4 struggling to read for meaning3, and among the worst performers of countries ranked for maths and science in several major international studies4, it makes sense to minimise confusion by teaching children the correct language and subject terminology they need to know from the start so that they can understand what is said in the classroom and achieve success in tests and exams."

'Democracy is in trouble if our children cannot read with comprehension'

  • 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

'Reading has to be seen as a serious investment'

"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

[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).

 

[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. 

[Case Study] Shine Literacy - Khanyisa project

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

[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.

 

2 Big Changes Coming to South African Schools

"The Department of Basic Education is working on its new Early Childhood Development (ECD) system and plans to have a detailed cost plan for the project by March 2020. This is according to basic education minister Angie Motshekga who was replying during a recent parliamentary Q&A session.

First announced during by president Cyril Ramaphosa during his 2019 state of the nation address, the ECD system aims to enrol all South African children in two years of compulsory schooling before starting Grade 1. The government hopes that the system will improve the foundational skills of literacy and numeracy  – two areas where South Africa has repeatedly scored poorly compared to the rest of the world."

Read more on Business Tech

80% of Grade 4s can't read‚ literacy survey reveals

  • 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

 

A Telling Campaign to Instil a Love of Reading in Children

'A “cognitive catastrophe” is how researchers describe the literary crisis affecting South African children, most of whom don’t have access to reading material and are being disadvantaged by an education system that fails to teach them to read or instil a love of storytelling.

Enter Covid-19 with its lockdown restrictions forcing thousands of schoolchildren to stay at home and leaving thousands of parents in despair not knowing what to do with them.

Storytelling could be the answer, believes home-grown political satire king Trevor Noah. His recent interview with #savewithstories campaign ambassador and actress Jennifer Garner made for absorbing viewing.'

Read more on Daily Maverick

Automatically progressing Foundation Phase learners will only create further problems

"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

Better Together: Strength in Partnerships, Says Sabinet

"As we celebrate National Library Week with the theme "Your Partners for Life", it’s an opportune time to reflect on the benefits that can be achieved by the power of partnerships. Partnerships have been part and parcel of Sabinet’s DNA from the very beginning. In fact, with our roots in library services, we have built our business on the founding concept of sharing resources.

In choosing the theme Your Partners for Life, the Library and Information Association of South Africa (LIASA) is highlighting how “libraries and communities from all walks of life will derive mutual benefits from forging relationships”. Whether this is achieved by working together, sharing resources, forming teams, or developing relationships and collaborations, it’s something that Sabinet is passionate about.

A proud supporter of LIASA for over 20 years, we also take pride in the meaningful and positive impact our contributions and collaborations have had on all South Africans. These are some that we are particularly proud of."

Read more on IT Web

Books save lives. Let this woman show you how

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

Breakthrough to literacy is an effective tool to address our reading crisis

"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

Building Blocks of a Successful Literacy Programme

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

 

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.

 

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.

Case study: How to create school libraries that support self-directed approaches to learning (The Bookery)

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

Case study: How to create school libraries that support self-directed approaches to learning (The Bookery)

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

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