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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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Learning to Read in African Languages: Panel Discussion

Thanks to everyone who participated in the really exciting and intense discussion about the important issue of learning to read in African languages hosted by Education Fishtank and Funda Wande in June. The panel represented a wide range of expertise, experience and passion in the field.

Big themes included: how language and power are interlinked; the complexity and necessity of standardising languages; validating non-standard language use in homes and classrooms; encouraging bi-literacy; the need for local research that informs teaching practice; the importance of looking at literacy beyond the classroom context.

At certain points the discussion drew on linguistics and focussed in on the structure and orthography of different African languages and the implications for teaching and assessing reading development. Panellists agreed that dramatic swings in curricula over the past decades have undermined teachers’ confidence and professional agency.

There was also a strong sense that an integrated and balanced approach to the teaching of early language and literacy was needed, as opposed to the staged learning of distinct skills. A strong case was made for valuing oral storytelling, songs and rhymes in the teaching of reading and writing, and the need for more books in African languages to ensure that children have opportunities for meaningful engagement with plentiful and rich texts.

The panel was united in supporting collaboration between role players in the interests of tackling a catastrophic failure of our system to teach children to read with meaning and to express their ideas in writing.

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Ready Steady Read Write tutors meet to reflect and refresh

Ready Steady Read Write (RSRW) tutors from across the Cape Metro came together during May at 7 different cluster meetings to reflect on their sites, solve problems and share ideas with each other and their Wordworks mentors.

We enjoyed the opportunity to refresh tutors’ content knowledge- how to support young children’s writing was the focus of the clusters this year.

Tutors were also excited to think about more ways they could become literacy champions in their communities.

 Great fun was had as people connected and left inspired to continue the valuable work they do with young children.

 

 

 

See our full album on our Facebook page: https://web.facebook.com/wordworksSA/

 

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March 2018 Newsletter

In the March edition of our newsletter we have exciting news about the launch of a Wordworks App for parents, caregivers and teachers of babies and young children. We also share a link to a new booklet that shows you how to make inexpensive resources for babies and toddlers to support language development and make learning fun. We feature an early literacy champion in the Eastern Cape, who is working tirelessly in her community to share knowledge and practical ideas for supporting early language development.

Enjoy the read!

Download pdf

 

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Download the free Wordworks App

Would you like to know more about how to talk, play, sing and share books with babies and young children? Or how to support their drawing and early writing? Did you know that you can enjoy maths with young children through everyday activities?

If you would like to know more, download the free Wordworks App with these practical and engaging features:

Content for birth to 2 years, and 3-5 years
> New ideas and activities to build language and support early learning
> Positive and encouraging words to use with babies and young children
> Inspirational messages for parents and carers
> Demonstration videos
> Stories to tell young children
> Songs and rhymes
> Health messages for the first 1000 days

For more info on the app, please click on this link: Wordworks App Leaflet

Search for WORDWORKS in the Play Store or use this link.

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Schools in the Western Cape reaching out to parents

Dedicated and competent teachers and enthusiastic, determined parents make for vibrant and engaging Home-School Partnerships Programme workshops!

We have compiled an picture album of Teacher-facilitators and parents exploring ways to support their children’s informal learning at home through interactive story-telling, warm-up activities, sharing stories, homework and ideas, writing, making little books, games, and more.

Over 120 new HSP Teacher-facilitators attended training over three Saturdays earlier this year, joining 184 established Teacher-facilitators working with parents in the Metro and on the West Coast.

See our album on our Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/wordworksSA/, and look out for more albums as the workshops progress.

Parents will attend a total of eight two-hour sessions culminating in a certification event organised by the Teacher-facilitators.

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Nine NGOs complete Every Word Counts training sessions

17 participants from eight NGOs working in the Western Cape have completed a series of nine monthly Every Word Counts (EWC) training sessions. They are from Capespan, Foundation for Community Work, GCU, Philani, Sikhula Sonke, Unogwaja Charitable Fund, Valley Development Projects, and Yumna First Steps.

These NGOs are sharing EWC with home visitors, in parent groups, with ECD practitioners, and using the ideas and activities with children. Our last training day was filled with highlights – experiencing the close connections we have developed as a group over the past year, sharing our learning with each other and invited guests, and receiving lots of lovely resources to encourage young children to have fun learning maths concepts.

Here Lusanda Stemele and Mercedes Artigue-Beatty from Unogwaja Charitable Fund in Langa share their highlights of the training.

These partners will continue to be connected to us as members of our WordNetworks and receive support from the team as they share EWC with new groups of parents, home visitors and ECD practitioners.

Read more about EWC – supporting the learning of babies and young children – on our website.

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Wordworks Home-School Partnerships on the Cape West Coast

Wordworks was busy way beyond the Cape Town Metro last weekend, training and supporting HSPP facilitators in Vredendal. Schools from Lutzville, Nuwerus, Koekenaap, Nieuwoudtville, Vredendal and as far as Moreesburg were represented.

We are encouraged by the fact that seven of the nine schools that attended training last year have committed to continue working with parents in 2018, and three new schools have come on board.

We are grateful for the opportunity to partner with West Coast Education District in this exciting initiative.

The Wordworks trainers will return for Parts 2 and 3 of the Facilitator training in March and April respectively. All the schools involved will receive our high quality resources for their parents.

Special thanks to the dedicated teachers who travelled long distances to do the training!

Pictured here are some of the 2018 trainees, including two school principals, a social worker and three retired teachers.

 

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The Home-School Partnerships (HSP) Programme is off to a strong start this year!

We have experienced high levels of energy and optimism amongst the wonderful teachers returning to another year of early literacy and language support to the families of their school community. We had four fruitful planning sessions with over 200 established teacher-facilitators in January, and look forward to our training sessions with new teacher-facilitators over the next month.

The HSP team also welcomes two new Mentors, Gaynor Cozens who retired from Merrydale Primary School, and Faheema Hassiem who is a retired Learning Support teacher from Norwood and Valhalla Primary schools. Both of them ran the HSPP at their respective schools.

In addition, Lavinia Davis has joined the HSPP team for this term and Lorna Solomons is assisting in the training of new HSPP facilitators. We have greatly valued their participation at our sessions for old and new Teacher-facilitators, and look forward to a great year together.

See more pictures on our Facebook page.

Read more about the HSP Programme here.