According to the Progress in International Reading Literacy Study (PIRLS) of 2016, almost 80% of South African Grade 4 learners do not understand what they read. One cause of this is that many teachers are overwhelmed by large classes, and another is that schools lack resources. As a parent, you can help by preparing your pre-school child for reading. One way of helping your child is by developing their spoken vocabulary and emergent literacy skills.
This can be done by encouraging your child to speak and tell their own stories, to ask questions. Read and speak to your child and make them aware that words make up sounds. Ensure your child makes the connection between letters and the sounds using songs nursery rhymes, reading aloud and playing simple word games. You can also use Oxford’s Reading Tree: Floppy’s Phonics Sound and Letters Programme.
Once your child can read words, it’s an easy step to reading sentences. The pre-reading skills you have managed to instil in your child before they start school will help smooth their path to becoming independent, confident and fluent readers – leading to better academic performance.
With great excitement, Lectorsa and
M3line launched the EyeBrainGym during the past few weeks in Limpopo,
Freestate, Western Cape, Eastern Cape and KZN.
Marshall, director of M3line, shared “Eye-Brain-Gym, our solution is a
customised Eye-Brain training course with an individualised specific Game Plan
to suit your schedule and or needs. It offers a selection of dynamic games and
reading actions culminating in cognitive skills sessions to enhance the
executive function in the brain and the interaction in the brain to move
information faster to the pre-frontal cortex. Our exercises will improve your
comprehension and bring you to a new level of competence when dealing with
M3line, in collaboration with Lectorsa, have
developed EyeBrainGym based on ten years’ data with more than 100,000 case
studies in LAB-on-line. Lectorsa have seen great results in developing visual
processing, reading and comprehension for their users. There was great
excitement at the launch of EyeBrainGym. The hope is that this product can
build on many other significant efforts to MAXimise the #ReadingRevolution
South Africa so desperately need.
According to the research, everyone can and
should read more, see faster, think clearer and reason better.
“Our focus is to advance visual intelligence
while addressing processing, reading and comprehension development from Grade R
to Grade 12 learners in schools. We collaborate with universities to develop
subject-specific materials for tertiary students and have high expectations a
better future for all. We’ve seen an overall improvement of 6 years average for
our users”, shared Minda Marshall Director of Lectorsa.
The vision is to ensure connected students, to transform
educational experiences and create engaged citizens. The directors explained
that EyeBrainGym was developed in a way that games are used in specific
sequence and intervals with researched weights and timeslots to achieve certain
outcomes regarding visual processing and cognitive skills development. The aim
is to develop a coherent mind, to achieve improved interaction with visual
information through improved visual and cognitive skills.
The evening concluded with nominations for a
school or organisation to be sponsored by guests to give students access to the
new system. Congratulations, to Mbokota High School in Limpopo who won 30
EyeBrainGym subscriptions to the value of R114,000.00. The project will kick
off at the rural school in Limpopo after the April holidays.
NOW, imagine a world of engaged and connected
citizens, a world with infinite possibilities and endless opportunities. See
passionate people with a solutions mindset, creating a better future for all. A
world of prosperous, generous people. The world of EyeBrainGym! Join us in
making this a reality for every student in our nation, for every worker, for
every manager. Contact our office on firstname.lastname@example.org if you are
interested in supporting a school to activate EyeBrainGym for their students.
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.
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
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.
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.”
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
How can you
do your part?
Parents should read to their young children- preferably beautiful stories in their home
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 must take up the responsibility to ensure that
accurate strategies for literacy intervention and development are deployed at
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
Companies and individuals can sponsor students, schools and
NPO’s with the implementation of a system like LAB-on-line (contact us at email@example.com for more information)
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.”
The following article is contributed by Minda Marshall, Director of Lectorsa, a member of ADESSA.
“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
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 firstname.lastname@example.org
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 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.
Talking Stories is an innovative South African reading programme that reflects real life situations in South Africa, affirming the sense of identity and dignity of every young reader. This product will be showcased by Macmillan Education on 9 March 2019 at the Cape Winelands elearning conference/expo.
Research, as well as our experience at Stimulus Maksima! over the past twenty-three years, demonstrated a direct relationship between the ability to read adequately and the emotional and psychological well-being of children. It, therefore, also relates positively to academic, cultural and sports performance as well as on academic and professional careers thereafter.
Successful careers perused by a passionate and motivated workforce impacts on the economic well-being and prosperity of communities, towns, cities and countries over the longer term.
Research studies demonstrated that the cost of illiteracy in our country is enormous, almost immeasurable, making it the responsibility of all stakeholders to take hands and get involved in the fight against illiteracy.
[Contributed by Hennie Engelbrecht, Director of Stimulus Maksima.]
Every learner needs adequate reading skills to master the subject content of the relevant school year (in other words the school grade) they are in.
Stimulus Maksima! define adequate reading skills as the competency that somebody has to read and understand material graded for his or her specific age or school grade at a prescribed speed.
Reading comprehension and speed at a specific grade does not only strongly correlate with, but actually determines, the learner’s academic achievement. Learners failing to keep up with the reading skills required for their specific grade often show signs of the following:
Low confidence and self-esteem, often expressed in destructive and undisciplined behaviour.
Lost of interest in school work resulting in underperformance.
Trying to find ways to compensate for their inadequate reading skills.
Emotional problems, resulting in socialising problems.
Losing hope to pass a school year, finishing their school career and joining a tertiary institution.
Losing hope of being employed after school.
Losing hope to fulfill their specific passion in life and many more.
An improvement in reading skills can address and rectify the cause of most of the above-mentioned symptoms often within a very short period.
Once learners have experienced the benefits and advantages of achieving adequate reading skills and their required reading age, they usually continue to thrive academically at school and university or professionally in their chosen careers.
The following opinion piece was contibuted by Minda Marshall, co-director and co-owner of Lectorsa, a leading research and development company (based in Mokopane, Limpopo) that supplies solutions internationally to the education and training market.
We are already full speed into 2018 and at Lectorsa we believe that this is the year of bigger, better, more. 2018 is going to be the year where we should see an important change in our education system.
Last year South Africa was presented with hard facts: A staggering 78% of gr 4’s in the country cannot read for meaning and according to Dr. Nick Spaull, “the ‘real’ gr 12 pass rate for 2017 is around 57% meaning that 43% of the youth in SA still get no qualification whatsoever”.
It is also important to realise that quality education is currently a big challenge, not only in SA but also globally.
At Lectorsa we are up to that challenge. The World Economic Forum recently predicted that robots could replace 800 million jobs by 2030. These facts and predictions can bring us to a rather gloomy view of the future, however, I strongly believe that we should be very excited about the sweeping changes that are ahead of us.
Jack Ma (business magnate, investor, and philanthropist) recently indicated at the recent WEF Conference that as humans we should not try to compete with machines, to clarify, even Usain Bolt won’t be able to outrun a speed train. The changes ahead of us should inspire us to find invigorating new ways of living beneficial and fulfilled lives in the future – and as educators, we should prepare our students for these exciting times.
After attending EduTech Africa in October 2017, I was inspired to see thousands of educators from across the country pursuing the latest in teaching strategies, cutting-edge technology and solutions so that they can shape an educational environment that will be more relevant in the 21st-century and beyond.
This has just proven once again that there are many people that share our passion for improved cutting-edge education – educators who have a heart for children and who want to stay abreast of times. They want to empower the next generation to look ahead with confidence, knowing they are competent to excel in the workplace.
We were in the midst of drafting our 2017 report when the news of the Progress in International Reading Literacy Study (PIRLS) results broke and made numerous headlines: ‘78% of grade 4 pupils can’t read for meaning.’ “This suggests that the majority of learners cannot read well enough to succeed in subjects across the curriculum in Gr 4 and higher grades,” Prof Sarah Howie, National Research Coordinator (NRC) for PIRLS 2016 South Africa, stated.
We are already busy changing this by bridging this gap and we have the results to prove it: In 2017 alone, we had more than a 1000 gr 4’s from schools across SA enrolled in our on-line solution, LAB-on-line. Their Cognitive Development Factor (measured in % comprehension) improved by 17% and their Visual Processing Factor (measured in words per minute) increased from 83 to 185 words per minute. Their Action-Interpret and Understand skill levels (combined VPF and CDF multiplied leads to an AIU Factor) improved with five years. This means that when these
Gr 4’s did the placement test, their skill level was below the expected Grade 1 level, but after completing LAB-on-line, their skill level had increased with 5 years – a year above the expected level.
I believe that these results are a powerful testimony to what can be achieved through accurate intervention and development.
Thomas Marshall, Co-Director of Lectorsa, recently said, “There will never be a more powerful and opportune time than NOW.” 2018 truly is the year of bigger, better – MORE!
Let us create a synergy in 2018 and build a bright future NOW through effective education.