“O’Carroll said there was a need for investment in resources and books for children in African languages, so that children had opportunities brought to them in their own home language. She also said we had to resource teachers and help them to teach well in both languages. “There are many issues where teaching reading in African languages is concerned. Some are related to methodology and how reading is being taught, and some concern a lack of resources.”
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.
‘In 2008, a group of women from Hout Bay who were passionate about making a difference, offered their time to support Grade 1 pupils at the Oranjekloof Moravian School, using the Ready Steady Read Write (RSRW) tutoring programme developed by the Wordworks NPO.’
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/
‘A parent is a child’s first teacher.’ Parents in the Langeberg are being encouraged by their children’s ECD teachers to create informal learning opportunities with their young children at home, using the Wordworks Home-School Partnerships Programme.”
‘Parent Thabisa Mathebula said the programmes not only helps her to effectively assist her child, but strengthened their relationship. “Through this course, I(have) learnt how much we as parents neglect our children. I have a new born baby and sometimes I would brush off my child because I am busy with the baby. This has helped me identify those things and be more involved in her school work,” she said. She said she has also learnt to take the child’s opinions into account and be more considerate.’
Many of the parents that have been attending our Home-School Partnerships Programme workshops across the Peninsula have been graduating. Follow our Facebook page for more of these stories.
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!
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.
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.