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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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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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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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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).

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Wonderful work and commitment at ECD centres in the Langeberg

Wordworks attended the AGM of one of our Lead Partners, the Langeberg ECD Forum in Montagu, on Thursday 16 August. The event was well attended, with 21 ECD centres from Robertson, Ashton, Bonnievale, McGregor and Montagu being represented. Also there were Augusta Brandt and Melissa Jacobs, National and Western Province chairpersons of the South African Congress of Early Childhood Development (SACECD).   

Wordworks distance mentors, Cathy and Gaynor, were happy to have the opportunity to speak about the HSPP and the impact this programme can have on parents and families. This year, trained facilitators from 8 ECD centres in the Langeberg region, are running the programme with their parents.

We were privileged to be able to visit all these sites the day before the AGM and were encouraged by the wonderful work and commitment that we witnessed on our visit, despite many challenges faced by these communities.

It gave us special pleasure to be able to hand over a Wordworks gift pack of books, puzzles and games to each of the 21 centres attending the AGM.


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Home–School Partnerships (HSP) Programme teacher-facilitators reflect and refresh

180 teacher-facilitators and the Wordworks team met at 6 affirming and inspiring cluster sessions during July and August. The purpose was to reflect on their parent sessions as well as to refresh new and current activities to support their parents with informal learning in their homes.

The teachers reflected on the positive impact the HSP had on their parents. Many parents informed them that the support not only helped their children improve in the classroom, but also nurtured a closer bond between child and parent/s. Teachers also reported that they have developed a better relationship with the parents who attended and that these parents are now more hands-on with their children’s learning.

The teachers themselves find that they have benefited from the skills acquired through the programme and have implemented these in their own classrooms as well. Some have taken on new opportunities and responsibilities at their schools since being involved in the HSP Programme.

See our Facebook picture album here: Thank you all for your great participation in these sessions.


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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:


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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 a 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, 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.