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December 2018 Newsletter

Grade R – what a year! ‘This is the year when children build key foundations for literacy in ways that are fun and playful, when words, sounds, letters and books become part of their everyday world.’

Our newsletter shares some of the ways we and our partners have been involved in building these vital foundations through our Stellar Home Language Programme this year. As always, we also share some tips, and introduce another early literacy champion.

Enjoy the read!

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Ready Steady Read Write 2018 Celebrations!

Celebrations marked the progress and achievement of learners who have attended weekly Ready Steady Read Write tutoring sessions in 2018. These children received well-deserved certificates and books at ceremonies and parties organized by their proud tutors.

The special bonds formed between these volunteer tutors and the children are evident in the preparation that went into these events. These tutors are community volunteers who pour love, attention and affirmation into the hour they spend together each week. Combined with a solid, structured programme, this is just what they need to take them back to class with skills and confidence!

We share in their excitement as the learners have grown in confidence, and are now able to read and write with greater success.

See more pictures on our Facebook page @WordworksSA

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How you can be part of the solution to our literacy crisis – Mail&Guardian

Why should YOU help to solve our literacy crisis?

You may think, ‘Why is this my problem? I pay my taxes and education is government’s responsibility. Isn’t this the work of NGO’s, philanthropists and CSI departments? How will I know my money will be well used?’ In this article, on Giving Tuesday, Wordworks Director Shelley O’Carroll responds to these questions and provides some practical ways for you to contribute. She challenges all South Africans to become part of the solution, and talks about why giving is important for those who give.

Read article online

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HSP Teacher-facilitators certification event

In November, we celebrated of the power of teachers, women, and leadership at the certification event of our Home-School Partnerships Programme (HSPP). Over 140 new Teacher-Facilitators were trained in 2018.

These Foundation Phase teachers are committed to bridging the gap between school and home, working with over 1200 parents to support their children’s early literacy development at home.

We were privileged to have guests from the WCED (metro districts) to help us celebrate.

Thank you to the donors who support the HSPP: Ackermans, ELMA Foundation, Davies Foundation, Fynbos Foundation, and DG Murray Trust.

Thanks also to the UCT Schools Development Unit for showing their confidence in this programme by accrediting the HSP Teacher-Facilitator training as a UCT short course.

You can view an album of pictures taken at the wonderful event on our Facebook page: @wordworksSA.

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A new milestone for the EWC Programme

We have reached a new milestone in our Every Word Counts journey which started in 2015 with us offering training in Cape Town to 22 individuals from 12 organisations.

From Sept to Nov 2018 we hosted our first three EWC graduation ceremonies – in KwaZulu-Natal, Wild Coast (Eastern Cape) and Western Cape – where we handed out 43 certificates to trainers, practitioners and community workers from 16 organisations who have attended our training and completed at least one cycle of EWC project work with ECD practitioners, parents and/or young children.

These certificates are richly deserved for the very positive changes that we have seen taking place in children’s and families’ lives as a result of our partners’ work.

It has been extremely rewarding for us to collaborate with such dedicated individuals and organisations as we all work to enrich the lives of young children in homes and other places of early learning.

See more pictures on our Facebook page- @wordworksSA


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Words that make sense – City Vision

“Friday was a day to remember for Grade R learners at Noluthando School for the Deaf in Khayelitsha, as they were taken through their graduation paces during a ceremony at the school. The eight learners, all seven-years-old, were joined by a group of parents who also graduated after completing an eight week course, designed to offer support to their deaf children, who are learners at the school.”

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A heart-warming Home-School Partnerships event on the West Coast

A reflect and refresh session, followed by teacher certification was held in October with Ebenhaeser Prim, Nuwerus Prim, Lutzville Prim, St Boniface Prim, Matzi-Care, Uitkyk Prim, Koekenaap Prim and Vredendal-Noord Prim. We are always so inspired by the work done by this group of schools and by their commitment and passion. We are thankful for the opportunity to touch their lives, but more so to be touched by theirs.

Mr Claassen the Circuit Manager for Circuit 5 and Nonnie Cloete the Curriculum Advisor also attended this event. Mr Claassen spoke some encouraging and inspiring words and expressed gratitude to Wordworks for reaching out to their schools. Nonnie Cloete encouraged and thanked the teachers for their commitment to the children and their progress.




The cluster refresher included time for reflection and feedback. It is important for the facilitators to reflect on their programmes during the year and then give feedback to Wordworks. The feedback is very useful for future planning and going forward as well as the facilitators learning from each other.



We also focussed on important content areas such as story-telling and story reading as well as the use of the word dice and the use of the writing frame as tools for story writing. The graduation was a memorable part of the day’s events.

We are always so inspired by the work done by this group of schools and by their commitment and passion. It is heart-warming and very special. We are indeed thankful for the opportunity to touch their lives, but more so to be touched by theirs.

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September 2018 Newsletter

September is literacy month and a time to reflect on the fact that after 24 years of democracy, the great majority of our young children are not able to read, or understand what they read. … This is not government’s problem alone – it is every South African’s problem. It is the one thing that this country must get right. With millions of children in this country not learning to read and write successfully, what hope do we have of a better future?’

In our latest newsletter, read Shelley O’Carroll’s thought-provoking piece on the literacy crisis we face in South Africa. We also share some inspiring photos, news and tips from our Home-School Partnerships Programme – one way in which dedicated teachers and parents are facing up to this challenge.

Enjoy the read!

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Wordworks contributes to From Words to Ideas: The role of literacy in enhancing young children’s development.

We were proud to share our learning about early literacy materials development in isiXhosa at the 2018 UWC Conference on Early Childhood Literacy Development. We also attended the launch of a book from last year’s conference: From Words to Ideas: The role of literacy in enhancing young children’s development.

Shelley O’Carroll and Isabella Hugow, together with Arnold Matzdorff, contributed a chapter to this book entitled ‘Assessment of Early Literacy development in under-resourced communities in South Africa’.

To order a copy of the book, email Prof Vuyokazi Nomlomo at  UWC – (R150 a copy).