President Cyril Ramaphosa emphasised the importance of ensuring that all South African children learn to read during his State of the Nation Address (SONA) on 20 June.
Sharing President Ramaphosa’s vision, Lectorsa has taken the lead and launched their #YesIcan Literacy campaign at the beginning of the year. The Lectorsa team is determined to work with all interested schools, businesses and NGO’s to use more than thirty years of research to improve literacy skills in South African schools and boost educational outcomes. The aim is to equip South Africa’s young people affectively with the right skillsets, to grow with an ever-changing world.
LAB-on-line data refers to more than 95 000 individual profiles (mostly ESLS across South Africa) that demonstrate how to not only improve reading and visual literacy, but also cognitive abilities for users from the first year of schooling through to management levels.
In 2018, one of the groups they empowered, Grade 4 learners, improved their reading skills to a Grade 7 level, measured to international norms and standards.
Director of Lectorsa, Minda Marshall said, “These learners, also mostly English Second Language Students (ESLS) exceeded the expected outcomes and gave us great hope for what can be achieved with the right type of intervention.”
Indeed, the debate concerning at what age students should start the language of instruction as English and not mother tongue has been raging for several years. Important aspects that deserve our attention in this area are:
- Mother tongue instruction in reading is important[i]
- “Instruction in English from as early as possible is the best way to become fluent in English.” As indicated by the latest cognitive research “If you want to have native-like knowledge of English grammar, you should start from up to 10 years old.”[ii]
- The current implementation preference in most South African public schools, which is the option to use mother-tongue instruction as opposed to English instruction in grades one, two and three, generally leads to better English learning in the long run.[iii]
- We need to ensure that the best practices to improve and develop reading skills are accessible to all our South African learners.
How can you do your part?
- Parents should read to their young children- preferably beautiful stories in their home language.
- Children in Grade 1, 2 and 3 should read to their parents from their school workbooks.
- Parents should ensure that there are books available at home.
SCHOOLS and other organisations
- Schools must take up the responsibility to ensure that accurate strategies for literacy intervention and development are deployed at ALL levels.
- TVET colleges and universities should empower all their students with the necessary skill sets to be able to interact effectively with the information they have to study.
- Colleges and universities should ensure access to the best training courses available for teachers, facilitators and parents.
- Government and private sector should work together to ensure that more libraries in our communities are established giving learners access to books.
- Companies and individuals can sponsor students, schools and NPO’s with the implementation of a system like LAB-on-line (contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information)
“At Lectorsa, we have a proven strategy. In the schools where we have implemented our solution, educational outcomes improved, learners’ self-confidence increased and growth was evident. We are ready to do our part in ensuring the next ten years see a major change in literacy levels in our nation.”
Excited about the future, Marshall said, “Transforming South Africa is possible. Together we can make a real and sustainable difference. Join our movement – #yesican literacy campaign and be part of the solution.”