Tag Archives: reading skills

Everyone can read better

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

  • 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 office@lectorsa.com 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.”

A guest post from lectorsa

The following article is contributed by Minda Marshall, Director of Lectorsa, a member of ADESSA.

Minda Marshall, Director of Lectorsa

“When a child who could be taught to read goes untaught, the child suffers a lasting injury — and so does society,” said Judge Stephen Murphy.

We have entered the second quarter of 2019 and the question remains: how much will our learners in South Africa improve in the crucial skills of visual processing, reading and comprehension? According to Employment and Social Development in Canada, reading comprehension will be one of the five top skills needed for tomorrow’s jobs.

This is why, as parents and teachers, we need to ask ourselves the important question: are we setting our children up for failure? Are we satisfied with the high percentage of learners not reading at a proficient level in our schools? More than 78% of South African learners cannot read for meaning, according to the latest Progress in International Reading Literacy Study (PIRLS).  During this study, which tested the reading comprehension of learners in their fourth year of primary school, South Africa ranked last out of 50 countries. Research has revealed that children who do not learn to read by the end of third grade are likely to remain poor readers and as a result fall behind in other academic areas too. It has also been proven that learners who struggle with reading are more likely to drop out of school. This is especially alarming when you look at the following statistics: of the 624,733 full-time public school students who entered matric at the start of 2018, only 512,735 actually wrote the exams.

A local study at one of the leading universities in South Africa indicated that “One of the most challenging issues Higher Education Institutions (HEI’s) face, but one that is not fully recognised by either students or lecturers until some way into academic courses, is the problem of reading”. It is presumed that students who have entered university are proficient readers and have mastered the building blocks of reading, but this, however, is not the case for all students.

I believe one of the key reasons why children are not reading at an acceptable level is the basic assumption that learning to read is a natural process. However, years of cognitive neuroscience research has clarified that reading does not come naturally. Our brains are not wired to read.  Children need to be taught not only how to read, but to read-to-learn. In the first three years of schooling, children are taught how to read. This is the time in reading development when a love for reading and excitement about new information should be encouraged. During this phase of development the sounds we hear in spoken language are transferred to a written symbol system. We can call this phase of development the Learn-to-Read – the “phonics phase”.

From Grade 4 children should progress to the Read-to-Learn phase, moving from ‘sounding’ out words to being able to ‘recognize and decipher’ words, sentences, paragraphs and even whole chapters and constructing the meaning of the text on different levels of comprehension. Our research across more than 30 years has shown that this transition is becoming weaker and weaker and is now at a stage where it seems to not take place accurately or efficiently enough – thus the reason why so many children are struggling, also in higher grade levels. Many learners fail to make the required transition to fluent reading and subsequently  encounter significant difficulties in constructing meaning from text. Fluency in reading is critical for reading competency and is consequently fundamental in reading success.

This is one of the areas where we see a considerable improvement of up to five years on average with LAB-on-line. There is a great solution available for Junior to Senior learners, as well as for our students in the FET and tertiary phase of education, and parents and teachers alike should take note of this.

Lectorsa has designed and developed a progressive on-line solution called LAB-on-line, that specifically targets and develops visual processing skills, together with reading and cognitive skills. We use the science of neural-wiring and combine it with the physics of muscle training through the processes of the reading action. When these essential skills are developed and refined, academic outcomes are improved, learners’ self-esteem is boosted and they are equipped with life-long learning skills.

It is said that there is a profound connection between reading, understanding the world and being able to change it. If we want the next generation to not only succeed, but to build a better South Africa, we need to step in now and equip them with the right skill set.

 If we can address this critical problem, we can not only minimize the impact of the triple challenge of poverty, unemployment and inequality that our country faces, but we can help each child to realise his/her true potential.

Join us in our campaign, #YesICan, to improve literacy across the country. South Africa’s children deserve no less. Contact our office office@lectorsa.com to stand a chance to participate in the #YesICanLiteracyCampaign and receive a free 10-week reading development program to implement at your school before the end of the year.


LECTORSA WILL BE AT THE CAPE WINELANDS CONFERENCE/EXPO

Lectorsa is another one of ADESSA’s esteemed members who will be at the Cape Winelands Education District elearning event next month.

They will showcase a tool that empowers students to master skills like extracting the main idea when reading, increasing vocabulary, arranging information in logical sequence, internalizing facts, analysing subject knowledge, forming a basis for argument and the interpretation of new knowledge.

Success factors that guarantee reading improvement at schools

Stimulus Maksima will showcase their product to improve reading at the forthcoming Cape Winelands Education District conference/expo (9 March 2019). In the meantime they’ve contributed some food for thought about the success factors that will lead to reading improvement.

Every school can be successful in empowering every learner to obtain the adequate reading skills required to complete every school year, feeling confident, hopeful and inspired to fulfil their dreams and passion in life.

Based on our experience over the past twenty-three years, we identified effective change and project management as essential for the successful implementation of an effective reading strategy and reading improvement system at schools. Effective reading strategies require ownership and overall awareness involving all educators, school management and parents.

Together with overall awareness as well as passionate and motivated role players, sustainable success is guaranteed by the following technical aspects:

  1. A dedicated computer centre containing state of the art hardware and software.
  2. Dedicated school principals and educators with a passion for achieving success.
  3. A structured timetable ensuring that learners will get the necessary exposure required.
  4. A robust and user-friendly high technology Reading Improvement System that can supply accurate information when and in the format required.
Hard at work improving reading skills