Education Day: dedicated NGOs need help creating a bright literacy future for SA – Cape Times, January 2020



Fortunately, on International Education Day, it’s heartening to know there are several NGOs and non-profit companies – which need constant public support, monetary and otherwise – that are on a mission to end the illiteracy epidemic in South Africa.


Read more about NGOs, including Wordworks, making a difference.






Mother-tongue early language and literacy training empowers children and parents – Social TV, October 2019



Wordworks – Southern Mail, May 2019

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Developing kids’ language – Peoples Post, April 2019


‘Children who learn to read and write successfully don’t only have good teachers at school, they also tend to be those who have benefited from critical early learning experiences from birth to five years…Research has shown that skilled reading and writing depends on oral language abilities that begin developing from the earliest days in a child’s life. Through nurturing relationships, critical brain connections are made that support a child’s language development from birth.’

Shelley O’Carroll

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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.

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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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Inkwenkwezi Society looks up – Grocotts Mail

The Inkwenkwezi Society aims to implement change through the use of preventative resources provided by national NGOs – such as Wordworks and Shine, to enhance the individual strengths of pupils as well as promote their mental well-being and resilience in schools around Grahamstown…at the end of a child’s programme, there is a notable difference in their self-esteem in that the students are more capable and confident in reading, writing and speaking in English. In addition, the programme has had a positive impact on each child’s sense of self-worth as they feel they have role to play in the classroom and want to be there.

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‘Ready Steady Read Write’ helps Kranshoek kids – CXPRESS

‘The ‘Ready Steady Read Write’ programme has been piloted at Kranshoek Primary to selected Grade R and Grade 1 learners during this year’s first two terms… (Bitou10 Foundation) expresses sincere gratitude to  Wordworks for making a life-changing impact on the development of learners and teachers in Bitou.

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Square Hill Parent Graduation – Southern Mail

Proud parents from Square Hill Primary School completed the eight-week Home-School Partnerships (HSP) Programme . The programme was conducted by facilitators who are teachers at the school. The HSP is being conducted across many schools across the Western Cape.










Pupils struggle to read in their mother tongue – Cape Argus

“O’Carroll said there was a need for investment in resources and books for children in African languages, so that children had opportunities brought to them in their own home language. She also said we had to resource teachers and help them to teach well in both languages. “There are many issues where teaching reading in African languages is concerned. Some are related to methodology and how reading is being taught, and some concern a lack of resources.”

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Empowering parents of ECD kids – Boland Gazette

‘A parent is a child’s first teacher.’ Parents in the Langeberg are being encouraged by their children’s ECD teachers to create informal learning opportunities with their young children at home, using the Wordworks Home-School Partnerships Programme.”

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Project fosters good relations – City Press

‘Parent Thabisa Mathebula said the programmes not only helps her to effectively assist her child, but strengthened their relationship. “Through this course, I(have) learnt how much we as parents neglect our children. I have a new born baby and sometimes I would brush off my child because I am busy with the baby. This has helped me identify those things and be more involved in her school work,” she said. She said she has also learnt to take the child’s opinions into account and be more considerate.’

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Literacy must start at infancy – Mail&Guardian

Wordworks Director Shelley O’ Carroll’s opinion piece in the Mail & Guardian is a response to the recent PIRLS (Progress in International Reading Literacy Study) report. South Africa was placed at the bottom of 50 participating countries in reading, with 78% of Grade 4 students not being able to read for meaning.

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Literacy course for adults brings dad closer to son – Cape Times

34 parents from two of Mellon Educate’s community schools graduated this week with Mellon Educate SA and Wordworks. These joyous parents from Kuyasa and Ummangaliso primary schools in Khayelitsha completed the eight-week Wordworks early literacy course known as the Home-School Partnerships Programme. This was coordinated and facilitated by Mellon Educate, and supported by Wordworks mentors.

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Children’s books galore, thanks to collaborative initiative – Cape Times

‘Much has been said about the great need to make quality local books available and affordable, especially for young children.

During literacy month in September, we are celebrating a collaborative initiative that is making it possible for many more children to have beautiful books in their own language.

Through an initiative between NGOs and publishers, 16 organisations have been able to purchase 12 402 children’s books in six languages for an average of R21 per title!

This project was initiated by Biblionef, Wordworks, Smartstart, Blue Door ECE and Nal’ibali, who selected titles, sent out a call for interest to NGOs and worked with publishers to co-ordinate bulk printing orders.’

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Locals donate libraries to dream of – People’s Post

In June, Ready Steady Read Write (RSRW) tutors assisted the Rotary Club of Wynberg to select books and set up the fully stocked Library Corners that Rotary has sponsored for each foundation phase classroom at Montagu’s Gift Primary School.



Parents part of kids’ learning – People’s Post

Kannemeyer Primary School is one of many primary schools across the Western Cape running the Wordworks Home-School Partnerships Programme: “Since we started, parents have shown tremendous interest and there has been a marked increase in the annual systemic tests for maths and literacy at our school.”Collop adds that the programme also plays a part in bringing a family closer ­together. “Evidence also shows that communication between child and parent improves as the parent develops more patience with their children. Parents are introduced to different games that helps counting as well as reading and the best part is that learning takes place by having fun.”

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Lions Club adopts school – Southern Suburbs Tatler

Extract: Ms Israel said Wordworks, an early literacy programme, use the library to assist pupils who have challenges. “We just had an assessment done, and they have improved so much,” a proud Ms Israel said. Mr Lewis said they want to make the school a space where children want to be – hence he is always looking at ways to improve the environment.

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Spine Road High pupils master maths – Plainsman

Extract: Ms Baker (Principal of Westville Primary School) said on weekends they have sessions with parents where they teach them how to help their children. They also have a home-school partnership programme, called Wordworks, aimed at working with the Grade 1 pupils at the school.

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Resource Centre to break learning barriers – Athlone News

Extract: The project partners include Ikamva Ubomi, the Department of Social Development, Sisters 4 Sisters, the City of Cape Town, Wordworks, Goldstar Entertainers and the neighbourhood watch. Ward 49 councillor, Rashid Adams, said the resource centre was ideally placed, which made partnerships with other organisations and institutions easier.

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Quality is the key to Grade R


This article for the Cape Times looks at the importance of quality provision in Grade R. It describes how our STELLAR programme is helping to achieve just this by improving the teaching of early language and literacy in Grade R.

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Curriculum misses the mark


This article for the Mail&Guardian discusses the draft Birth to Four Curriculum Framework and urges government to invest more time in the development of the curriculum to ensure that it reflects best practice in ECD and is accessible to those who will be using it.

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Schooling alone won’t fix illiteracy


An article for the Mail&Guardian discussing the problems with the report by the National Education Evaluation and Development Unit (NEEDU) on literacy teaching in Grades 1-3.

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Simple activities have a huge impact


An article for the Cape Times looking at the main recommendations of the €˜Narrowing the Literacy Gap report.

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