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Lynette du Preez

Lynette du Preez has recently signed off from the Ready Steady Read Write Programme after eight years. She became involved with the programme after she retired as a high school teacher. While most people would be easing into their well-deserved break, Lynette decided she wanted to be involved with helping children to read and write.

“After attending training, I started with the Ready Steady programme at St Andrews Primary in Saldanha Bay. As the material was mostly in English, I translated some of it into Afrikaans. Initially I tutored four Grade 1 children in a small storeroom. The next year, four parents from the community joined my team. In 2013, I moved to Cape Town and started the programme at Simon van der Stel Primary in Wynberg. Two happy years followed with a team of six diligent tutors. On my return to Veldrif, I started the Ready Steady programme at Noordhoek Primary with six volunteers. After my husband’s health deteriorated, I was obliged to leave the project.

A highlight for me as a tutor was when I explained to a child how letters form a word. I saw his eyes light up, and he said: “Oh, is that how it works!”

These eight years enriched my life tremendously. I met and worked with friendly people and saw that I could make a difference in a child’s life. My wish to continue until my eightieth birthday, was not fulfilled, but I cherish the lovely memories.

Thank you, Wordworks!”


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July 2018 Newsletter

“If you visited schools where tutors are using the Ready Steady Read Write programme to support young children learning to read and write, you would be struck by children contributing eagerly to conversations about books and a strong message to children that it’s important to try even if they can’t write perfectly. You would see how much fun reading and writing can be when it is taught through games, and you would notice children eager to begin their lessons, and leaving with a sense of confidence in themselves as readers and writers.”

Our July Newsletter brings you stories, tips and news about how to help make the journey into reading and writing a happy one that fills all involved with a great sense of accomplishment.

Enjoy the read!

Download PDF


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Wordworks is excited to be offering these public workshops over the next few months.

Big game box workshops

Tuesday 21 August: 9 – 1pm. See application form here. If you wish to attend, apply before 7 August.

Wednesday 19 September: 2 – 6pm. See application form here. If you wish to attend, apply before 5 September.

 Stellar Home Language workshops

NEW: Stellar teacher guide for parent meetings, Wednesday 5 September: 2 – 4.30 pm. See application form here. If you wish to attend, apply before 22 August.

UPDATE: Stellar teacher guides for 2-week cycle, Wednesday 24 October: 2 – 5.30 pm. See application form here. If you wish to attend, apply before 10 October.

Your place will be reserved on submission of the application form, and our office will contact you to confirm your place when we receive payment.


Learning to read and write should be enjoyable and we know that children learn best when they are having fun.  Over the past ten years Wordworks has developed games and activities that are used across our programmes to support young children learning to read and write. These games and activities are fun and engaging and will help children to practise letters, sounds and words so that they can read and write with more success.

We are now offering a workshop for people who work with young children between the ages of 5 and 8 who would benefit from extra support with literacy and language. The games can also be used to help older children to learn to speak, read and write in a second language.  We have found the games to be effective in Foundation Phase classrooms, after-care facilities, learning support sessions and in extra lessons.

The workshop will be practical and will cover all the games in the Big Games Box.  The box includes a short instruction manual, game boards, dice and counters for over 20 games covering letter formation, letter-sound knowledge, Consonant Vowel Consonant words, words with blends, high frequency words and multisyllabic words.

The training will be conducted in English but the games are available in English, Afrikaans and isiXhosa.

Stellar workshop on UPDATES to 2-week cycles

We are delighted to hear from so many schools that Grade R teachers and children continue to love the Stellar stories and that the two-week story-based teaching cycle is working well in classrooms.

We hope you will be excited to hear that since the big provincial ELIT roll out in 2016, we have revised the materials to take on board everything we learned from that experience. (Some quick reassurance – the story packs still have the warm, practical and supportive approach that teachers have loved. Spot, Ali, Baby Bird and all the other favourite stories are still there!

For those who do not yet have their own set of Stellar materials, who would like to update their files, or who would like the opportunity to refresh their programme understanding, this workshop offers an opportunity to engage with Wordworks staff about the changes we have made to the materials.

The revisions include:

  • New content, so that the two-week cycle includes whole class and rotation activities every day
  • Integration of fifteen minutes of phonological awareness and letter–sound activities into each day’s programme (in place of a separate Letters and Sounds Manual). Two new letters are introduced for each story instead of one.
  • More listening activities and additional shared writing and reading activities
  • A brand-new Teacher’s guide for parent meetings, to assist teachers to reach out to families as partners in early learning
  • Revised activities
  • Improved translations.

We look forward to showing you what we have done – and to hearing from you about your early language and literacy work with children in the past two years!

Stellar Workshop on NEW teacher guide for parent meetings:

Most teachers would like their children’s parents to be more informed about, and involved in, their children’s learning. Many parents want to support their children but don’t always know how to. Some parents don’t see it as their role – they believe that the school is responsible for all education. Others will say that they are simply too busy to take an interest in what their children are learning at school.

We know from research that it is very important for parents to be involved in their children’s learning, particularly when children are young. It is important for Grade R children to know that their parents appreciate the school, and know and respect their teacher. When parents are positive about what happens at school, this helps children hold two very important parts of their world together – the home part and the school part.  When parents pay attention to their children talking and reading, writing and drawing, then children will believe these activities are valued and important.

This workshop will introduce Grade R teachers using the Stellar programme to our NEW teacher’s guide for parent meetings.  Wordworks developed this guide to help busy Grade R teachers to get parents interested in their children’s schooling, especially in the Stellar Home Language programme. The guide provides teachers with clear guidelines, handouts and practical ideas for six parent meetings. At the workshop we will share our experience of the importance of inspiring parents to support their children’s language and literacy learning at home and will give you lots of practical ideas.

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Our track record

As an organisation, Wordworks meets the highest standards of financial accountability and our finance and procurement policies meet the requirements of international donors (USAID and The ELMA Foundation). Wordworks has been audited annually since 2012 and has never had a qualified opinion. Our most recent Audited Financial Statements are available on our website

We consistently meet due diligence requirements of donors and many of our donors have funded us over a number of years (DG Murray Trust, USAID, ELMA Foundation, The Learning Trust, The Claude Leon Foundation, The Oppenheimer Memorial Trust).

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Leave a gift in your will

You may wish to leave a bequest in your will that will contribute to the development of early language and literacy in South Africa.

If you are setting up a new will, you will need to stipulate in your will that you want to bequeath an amount to Wordworks (NPO 044-776 PBO 930022252). If you already have a will, you will not need to redo the whole document, but can add a supplement, known as a codicil, which will then be attached to your original will.

If you have made a decision to bequeath money to Wordworks in your Will, please let us know (contact Shelley O’Carroll at We would like to be able to show our appreciation for your contribution to our work, and discuss how your legacy will benefit young children.

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Gaynor Cozens

Early Literacy Specialist

I have been a Foundation Phase teacher since 1981 and have been involved in education ever since. I studied at Wesley Teacher Training College, Roggebaai College and UCT. Serving in education in various capacities such as teacher, facilitator, manager, head of department and author has been an absolute joy and privilege. I have authored several books in mathematics and life skills. In January 2018, after retiring, I joined the Wordworks team. I implemented the Home-School Partnerships Programme for a period of four years before that. I believe in the value of this programme and the need for it in the country.

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Lavinia Davis

Early Literacy Specialist

Lavinia retired in 2016 after 38 years in Education. She qualified with a Diploma in Primary School Teaching (PTD) at Hewat Training College and completed a Diploma in School Librarianship (DSL) at UWC. Lavinia taught mainly in the Intermediate Phase and a short stint in the Foundation Phase – Grade 3. She progressed through the different management ranks to principal and retired in this post after 15 years. Lavinia did short management courses and mentored Principals/Educators in our circuit in conjunction with the Circuit Manager. As the Principal of the school, Lavinia’s passion has always been about literacy. She trained as a Wordworks Facilitator when it was offered to the schools and introduced the Home-School Partnerships (HSP) Programme to the school. Lavinia started working, part time, at Wordworks in January 2018 as a Mentor in the HSP Programme.

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Support us through a monthly donation

We know that many people want to be part of making South Africa a better place for all. What better way to do this than by supporting young children who do not have access to resources and opportunities that will help them to learn to read and write.

If you would like to be part of making a difference, but don’t feel you can afford to make a big once-off donation, please consider making a small monthly donation to Wordworks.

This donation could mean more children benefit from weekly tutoring to give them the support they need to learn to read and write. It could mean that more parents and children have resources to learn together in their home. It could mean that more home-visitors are able to share books with parents and children in their weekly visits. It could mean the difference between a confident reader with a love of books – and a child whose potential is never realised.

You can use this debit order form to set up a monthly contribution to Wordworks – and to changing lives through literacy.

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B-BBEE Donations

Socio-economic development (SED)

Is your business contributing to a better society in South Africa?  You can make a difference while also earning BBBEE points. All Wordworks’ activities qualify for BEE SED contributions. Wordworks has Level 1 B-BBEE status and 98% of our beneficiaries are black as defined by the codes of good practice Businesses who donate to Wordworks can earn 5 B-BBEE points if they donate 1% of net profit after tax. We will supply you with a Section 18A certificate.

Socio-Economic Development (SED) is not the only way of earning B-BBEE points. The BEE codes provide for other opportunities where businesses can benefit from their contributions to non-profit organisations.

Skills development

One of the easiest ways for companies to improve their rating is through investing in skills development.  You can earn points if you invest a percentage of your payroll on the training of black people, even if they are not employed by your company.

For example, if you funded the training of teacher-facilitators in our Home-School Partnerships Programme, we would provide you with reports on attendance and course completion so that you can maximise your BEE points. The training course is accredited by the South African Council of Educators (SACE) and as a UCT short course.  Your contributions could be claimed under Category E of the Skills Development matrix.

Depending on whether you are an Exempt Micro Enterprise (less than R10m turnover per annum), Qualifying Small Enterprises (R10m – R50m per annum) or a Generic Company (above R50m per annum), you can get up to BBBEE points when donating between 3% to 6% (depending on your company size) of payroll towards skills development initiatives.

If you would like more information about how you can maximise your points and make a difference to young children’s education, please contact