This report documents an evaluation of the Every Word Counts programme (EWC) in Worcester, Western Cape, a partnership between Wordworks and the Foundation for Community Work (FCW) funded by RCL Foods. The evaluation aimed firstly to assess whether the model of delivery had effectively deepened participants’ understanding of early learning and language development, taught participants practical skills and activities and enabled participants to apply what they had learned; and secondly, how well the delivery and support model was working.
In 2015 the Curriculum Directorate of the Western Cape Education Department (WCED) partnered with Wordworks to take its Emergent Literacy Project (ELIT) to Grade R classrooms across the eight education districts of the Western Cape. ELIT incorporates the STELLAR Programme (Strengthening Teaching of Early Language and Literacy in Grade R) which Wordworks developed, implemented and refined over several years.
The purpose of this qualitative study was to deliver findings which illuminate the effectiveness of the Emergent Literacy ‘cascaded training with support’ dissemination model. By drawing on the key implementers’ (the WCED subject advisors and lead teachers) accounts of the roll out, the research seeks to provide insights for future dissemination, refinement or replication of the ELIT project or similar large-scale training interventions in state primary schooling.
This evaluation sets out the process of researching and developing the Every word counts programme and shares the findings of an evaluation of the training and resource package piloted in a non-ECD organisation that runs a home visiting programme.
The role of monitoring and evaluation in six South African reading programmes
This article focuses on six reading programmes, (including the Wordworks Ready, Steady…Read and Write Programme) and asks: Do these programmes work insofar as they improve the reading ability of programme participants? Denver Grigg, et al Journal article.
Wordworks tries to make our key messages on early language and literacy accessible through a range of easy-to-read publications.
Why learning to read starts long before primary school
Our Director, Shelley O’Carroll, spoke to help2read about building literacy skills with children, including giving practical activities, before they start primary school.
Much More than Counting: Mathematics Development between birth and five years
This joint report by Wordworks and the Schools Development Unit describes the different ways in which young children learn mathematics and the main mathematics learning strands.
Narrowing the Literacy Gap: Strengthening language and literacy development between birth and six years for children in South Africa
This report discusses why language development in a child’s first years is so important to later reading and writing skills.
Narrowing the literacy gap: Making a case for the importance of early language and literacy development in South Africa
Provides a useful summary of our Narrowing the Literacy Gap report.
Early language, literacy and mathematics learning: Why does it matter and who benefits?
This briefing looks at why the period between birth and five years is such a crucial formative time for a child, setting the trajectory for their school years and beyond. It explains how the benefits of investing in this period are deep and wide, providing the foundations not only for individual flourishing, but also for a successful education system, a stronger society, and more efficient public spending. We also discuss how high quality opportunities for language, literacy and maths learning have been shown to be an essential element of any successful early years programme, and consider how and why language is at the heart of all learning.
Early language and literacy: What skills and understanding do young children need?
This briefing looks at the skills and understanding that young children need in order to learn to read and write successfully. Improving knowledge of what these early literacy competencies are and how they can be nurtured in the home and other ECD settings must be a key part of any strategy to raise literacy rates in South Africa.
Early language and literacy: How do children learn and how can adults support them?
The third in our series of policy briefings looks at the ‘how to’ of language and literacy learning in the pre-school years. As well as considering the question of how children learn, this briefing looks at the vital role of adults, the specific activities that support early literacy, and the key features of an effective learning environment.
Article: An exploratory study of early letter-sound knowledge in a low socio-economic context in South Africa.
This evaluation aims to distil ways of supporting informal learning at home, drawing from the Home-School Partnership Programme. In order to do this, HSPP collected and reflected on extensive feedback from key partners and beneficiaries, teacher-facilitators, classroom teachers and parents, collected during 2015.
Lessons on creating scale for an early language and literacy skills development programme
In this short article Wordworks shares the lessons learned while scaling-up the Home- School Partnership (HSP) programme. There is strong evidence of the positive impact that the programme has on parents, caregivers and teachers, and, through them, children – this learning brief might thus be well worth the read for other early literacy and ECD programmes.
Wordworks endeavours to engage carefully with government policy that affects early language and literacy development. This is a record of our formal submissions.
- Joint submission to draft 0-4 NCF (DBE)
- Wordworks submission to draft 0-4 NCF (DBE)
- Inter-sectoral Forum for Early Childhood Development (DSD)
To ensure that more children learn to read and write successfully, there is a need for early literacy interventions that support young children and for programmes that equip caregivers to become more involved. Wordworks’ experience sheds light on factors that draw volunteers into programmes and help sustain their involvement over time.
These are unpublished postgraduate theses and published journal articles that have explored an aspect of Wordworks’ programmes in supporting early language and literacy.
- Alicia Okeyo dissertation: Strengthening Foundational Literacy – A process and outcome evaluation of the Wordworks Early Literacy Programme
- Dawn Cozett journal article: Literacy lessons learnt from parents after attending a seven-week Home-School Partnership Programme
- Sarlina Le Roux: The role of family literacy programmes to support emergent literacy in young learners
- Dawn Cozett: Determining the efficacy of the Home School Partnership Programme (HSPP).