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Learning and support visits to EWC partners in KZN and EC

Earlier this year, the Every Word Counts (EWC) team visited our partners in KZN and the Eastern Cape who are using this programme with families and in ECD centres.  We went on home visits, attended training workshops with ECD practitioners, and assisted partners to plan their training, being guided by what support partners wanted from us. We visited 9 organisations in KZN and 9 in the Eastern Cape.






We also conducted EWC refresher workshops, attended by 17 participants in the Eastern Cape and 19 in KZN.

It was wonderful to build relationships, see how our partners are using EWC in unique ways, and to help deepen their understanding of the importance of building language and starting early!

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Home-School Partnerships Programme participants reflect and refresh

HSP cluster sessions were held recently for HSP Teacher-Facilitators to reflect, refresh their knowledge of some of the training activities, and look ahead to the rest of the year. We ran three two and a half hour sessions in May with over 50 metro schools and more than 200 facilitators. Participants welcomed Wordworks input on sections of the programme that required further discussion, and keenly shared experiences of the courses they ran with parents. Here are some scenes from these clusters showing participants and the Wordworks team in action.

Some shared experiences from programme participants

Have you as teachers noticed any changes in the children whose parents did the programme this year?

‘Yes, they are more confident. There is this bond… my mom knows my teacher very well…’

‘Children have routine [at home]. More lively in class. Children more confident. Learners understand terminology and vocabulary better.’

Since facilitating the HSPP, has anything changed in your classroom practices or in how you relate to the parents at your school?

Teachers feel that they can now communicate more freely with parents and that they have felt more appreciated by the parents. Parents now seem to be more open to receive guidance and suggestions from teachers regarding their children.

Parent feedback on the programme

‘When I joined the class, I didn’t know what to expect. Thought it would be things I know by heart. As a crèche teacher it was a great experience. Took me out of my comfort zone. It was nice to see the passion in some teachers. It made me feel like a child again. I believe that parents and crèche teachers can benefit from taking courses like this. I love the games. I like the interaction that parents had with teachers. Teachers were well prepared. They asked questions. They listened. It wasn’t boring. I would definitely attend courses like this if presented again.’

 ‘I now realise that making interactive time with my child is important in turn this is helping me with self development. I too have a challenge myself as a parent when it comes to writing. Now the programme is going to help me while assisting my child. This has been an eye opener, about how to be a parent that is involved into our children’s life.’

‘The programme has helped me with my 17 year old too. Now we both have time for the little one. There is now routine at home and peace.’

Please see our facebook page for more pictures of these workshops.

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Ready Steady Read Write tutors meet in 9 Cluster Meetings across the Peninsula

Wordworks mentors have met with about 230 Ready Steady Read Write tutors who attended one of 9 cluster meetings in May and June. These meetings were arranged to inspire and inform the tutors and also to maintain a link between the Ready Steady Read Write sites and Wordworks.

At each session, after having fun with an ice-breaker, tutors shared with each other their successes and challenges of the programme. We also used this opportunity to revise the process of assessing children which is done three times a year.

We ended with a fun crossword to consolidate the content of the meeting.



Each tutor received a personal book gift and alphabet charts for the children they work with. Our facebook page has more photos from these cluster meetings.

Tutors shared some of their insights and experiences with us:

I would encourage others to become tutors because:

It gives me a great feeling to help children that just need a little bit of a push. And to uplift yourself!

There is a nice experience to know what children think when they are taught. Also the skill of becoming the good example to them. Someone who inspires them to go further with their studies.

‘N mens voel menswaarding en siels tevrede as jy a kind kan leer lees and skryf, en sodoende iemand se menswees kan verbeter

Since becoming a tutor I have learned:

That giving back to the community is very important. If you can be able to help those in need, it means that you know how to share Ubuntu without expecting something back.

That learners really need our help. It is difficult for them to cope in the classroom because they do not get one-on-one support.

I decided to become a tutor because:

I needed to feel useful in the community. My granddaughter had a problem with reading and I was unable to help her. I realised how frustrated she was and felt helpless.

I have a passion for working with a child it has always been my dream to become a teacher. I started my studies at the College of Cape Town … but could not complete because of financial difficulties, but by becoming a tutor I can still do what I love.

In addition to the tutoring I do at school, I also use my tutor kit to:

(Tutor) my nephew, my niece my stepson. It really helps a lot. I can even play the games in my Reading Club.

Becoming a tutor has given me the opportunity to:

Challenge myself, and I am thinking of studying further going to study teaching. Help those (children) that are struggling.

Be more open-minded, and have tried to further my studies

In my work as a tutor, the thing I have found the most difficult is:

Skipping a day, not going to work. It just feels so unreal to spend a day without seeing those kids.

Having to work at a different pace with different children. Having to keep the children’s attention is something that was very new to me but I overcame it.

We celebrate these women and men in our communities making a difference
in children’s lives!

Here is a list of schools in the Western Cape that run either the Wordworks Ready Steady Read Write or Home-School Partnerships Programmes, or both.

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Our Home-School Partnerships parents are graduating!

Moms, dads, grandparents and other caregivers have received certificates after attending our 8-week Home-School Partnerships (HSP) Programme. Well done to these caregivers, and to the dedicated teachers who met with them after school or on Saturdays to empower and inspire parents and caregivers of children aged 4 to 9 years to support informal learning at home.


In February and March this year, Teacher-Facilitator training for the HSP Programme was attended by 150 new Facilitators, from schools across the Peninsula and further afield. Training sessions encompassed a detailed engagement with new materials, and training on how to present the 8 parent sessions. Sessions were conducted in English, Afrikaans and Xhosa. Some of the participants are shown below with HSP materials:



Some feedback from programme participants

Feedback from these sessions shows parents eager to contribute to their children’s learning, better communication between parents and teachers, and more responsive children in classes.

Parents talking about how the programme has helped them:

‘I now realise that making interactive time with my child is important in turn this is helping me with self-development. I too have a challenge myself as a parent when it comes to writing. Now the programme is going to help me while assisting my child. This has been an eye opener, about how to be a parent that is involved into our children’s life.’

‘The programme has helped me with my 17 year old too. Now we both have time for the little one. There is now routine at home and peace.’

“The programme has made me to be open minded, I always thought the teacher has done enough, now I know that the child who is assisted at home becomes a champion at school. My child has shown that.”

HSP Teacher-Facilitators noting changes in the children whose parents did the programme:

 “Children are more confident and their motor skills have improved. Learners that did not want to speak are speaking now.”

“Children’s reading has improved (fluency, word recognition and comprehension). Children’s participation in group and class discussions has improved. They now share opinions and ideas more freely because their confidence and self-esteem is growing.”

“The learners are more excited to do activities in class… They like to read and write their own stories.”

“The learners are going to the library and are more interested in reading.”

“The learners are more eager to do their homework and it is completed more regularly.”

Log onto our facebook page ( to see photographs of graduations from 22 primary schools. Look out for more photographs of graduations as more parents complete the HSP course at primary schools across the Peninsula and further afield.

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Wordworks on air on Radio 786

Gail Lindsay, Bukelwa Yuze, and Asanda Mpahla from Wordworks were interviewed on the FYI programme on Radio 786 in April.

In this 45 minute programme, hosts Ishah Abdullah and Jamielah Parker chatted to them about how parents and caregivers can help develop reading and writing skills in young children. Their message for parents – the time you spend talking and reading with your children is so valuable. You are your children’s first teachers!

Radio 786, on 100.4 fm, aims to inform, educate and uplift the community

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Ready Steady Read Write travels to KZN

Ready Steady Read Write (RSRW) is spreading its wings!

Over 3 days in March, 30 Co-ordinators were trained to set up and manage the RSRW programme at their schools and after-care facilities in KwaZulu Natal.

Most of the Co-ordinators were from an organisation called CAST, and we were also joined by participants from Siyabonga Helping Hands and Siyakwazi.

We also visited two established RSRW schools, Addington Primary in central Durban and Kranskloof Primary in Kwadabeka, where volunteers are already making a real difference to the literacy levels with children in Grade One and Grade Two.

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Every Word Counts on the KZN South Coast

Small groups of subsistence farmers are attending our Every Word Counts sessions once a week before they start work in their fields. This programme supports the learning of babies and young children.

These farmers are parents and grandparents of children who attend the pre-school, Grade R and Grade 1 at Thanda, an NGO near Hibberdene on the KZN south coast.

Tyler Howard of Thanda says EWC is helping to build these carers’ self-esteem and that the farmers are finding the information useful for communicating with their children, and easy to follow.

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Wordworks takes the HSP Programme to the West Coast!

The Home- School Partnerships Programme is a hands-on and practical approach to involving parents/caregivers in the literacy development of their young children.

This is the third of four Home-School Partnership training sessions with teacher- facilitators in Vredendal.

Easy- to- use Facilitators’ Guides, Parent Workbooks, Parent Booklets, Game packs and card games complete this comprehensive training. The teachers have shown lots of enthusiasm and have already started implementing the programme with their parents.

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Partnerships are key to improving literacy!

113 SHINE volunteers attended a workshop with Wordworks in February. These volunteers work with Grade 2 and Grade 3 children, and use Wordworks games for children who need consolidation of basic literacy that is covered in Grade 1.

The workshop covered the Ready Steady Read Write sequence stories and games, highlighting the importance of building language for comprehension and as a foundation for writing.



The Shine Volunteers were interested and engaged, and loved playing the games using the sequence stories which will be included in their lessons.

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Every Word Counts training in Worcester off to a successful start

A group of 45 ECD practitioners and home visitors from Worcester attended the first in a series of 10 monthly Every Word Counts workshops on 26 January 2017. Facilitated by Magrieta Lesch and Camelita Christians of the Foundation for Community Work (FCW), the training focuses on supporting the language development of babies and young children, and laying the foundations for reading and writing.

The Department of Social Development in Worcester plays a key role in identifying pre-schools and arranging for their practitioners to participate in the training. While the whole Worcester community is benefitting from this RCL Foods funded project, many of those who attend these pre-schools are children of the almost 1200 RCL Foods employees in the district.

The participants left the training in high spirits and with a lovely pack of materials, ready to try out their new ideas with the children in their care, and with parents and carers they visit. Mariska Moller, RCL Foods Trainer, will be sharing what she is learning at the workshops with workers at the RCL Consumer site in Worcester.

On the same day a workshop was held for 20 principals from the participating pre-schools to discuss how they can support those attending training, as well as to share with them Wordworks’ approach