Monthly Reports on the TIME (Together in My Education) At home Programme for Grade R and Grade1

These are comprehensive reports on the activities and findings of this ongoing programme. See more about the programme and find programme materials here:


Click on the month below to read the relevant report

June 2021              July 2021               August 2021               September 2021            October 2021



Report on the @ Home early language and literacy pilot for Grade R and Grade 1: Second mid-pilot report: January 2021

Read the report here

This second mid-pilot report was compiled to summarise the work done to support schools
and homes to use the Home early language and literacy pilot for Grade R and Grade 1 materials, and to reflect the feedback received so far from districts and schools.









A review of the Every Word Counts Programme 2018

Reflections on working in partnership to train trainers and support partners as they implement the Every Word Counts programme July 2016 to July 2018: lessons to inform the way forward.

Read this review here.








A study of the Emergent Literacy Project roll out in the Western Cape

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.

Read this report here.


CareUp Evaluation Report

The CareUp project is a mobile communication intervention initiated by the Department of Social Development in the Western Cape, and jointly funded by the DSD-WC and Innovation Edge. It targets both practitioners at Early Childhood Development (ECD) centres working with classes of 4 to 5-year old children; and parents of the children in their class. CareUp aims to support quality communication between the parent, caregivers and their children.

Read the executive summary of the evaluation report here.




EWC RCL Foods Worcester Project Evaluation (2016)

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.

Read this report here.
























Policy briefs, reports and articles

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.

View blog post







Much More than Counting: Mathematics Development between birth and five years

much-more-than-countingThis 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.

View Publication






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.

View Publication






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.

View Learning Brief







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.

Download the Policy brief

Download the list of references


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.

Download the Policy brief

Download the list of references



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.


Download the Policy brief

Download the list of references







Article: An exploratory study of early letter-sound knowledge in a low socio-economic context in South Africa.

Shelley O’Carroll

Download the article



Reflections on the Home-School Partnership Programme (2015)

screen-shot-2016-11-23-at-2-38-17-pmHome-School Partnership Programme Evaluation Report 2015

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.

Read this report here.







Reflections on the Home-School Partnership Programme (2013)

screen-shot-2016-11-27-at-4-10-49-pmLessons 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.




Submissions to government

Wordworks endeavours to engage carefully with government policy that affects early language and literacy development. This is a record of our formal submissions.

May 2015

Response to draft Occupational Certificate: Early Childhood Development Practitioner (QCTO)

April 2015

Response to draft National Policy on Early Childhood Development (DSD)

August 2014

Response to the Evaluation and Verification Questionnaire for the Occupational Profile: Early Childhood Development Practitioner (ETDP SETA)

September 2013

May 2013

Letter to Minister Motshekga in response to NEEDU Report ‘The State of Literacy Teaching and Learning in the Foundation Phase’



Reflections on Ready Steady Read Write!

Vscreen-shot-2016-11-23-at-2-27-35-pmolunteer-driven literacy programmes in schools: Why parents and teachers join, and why they stay

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.


Read this report here.




Academic studies

These are unpublished postgraduate theses and published journal articles that have explored an aspect of Wordworks’ programmes in supporting early language and literacy.