Tag Archives: reading

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.

TALKING STORIES TEACHing CHILDREN TO LOVE READING

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.

Talking Stories teaches children to love reading!

64 graded storybooks + Interactive activities + Worksheets + Free support

• Talking Stories can be used on a computer or interactive whiteboard, in the classroom, in the computer lab, on a tablet or on a cell phone.

• 64 graded storybooks for levels 1 to 3 across a variety of genres in English, isiXhosa, Afrikaans and isiZulu.

• Stories are graded for Beginner, Core, Intermediate and Advanced within each level.

• Authentic South African stories with colourful illustrations to stimulate learners’ interests.

Interactive activities

• Every story comes with three fun interactive activities that draw on the content of the story.

• The activities are aligned with the language curriculum.

• The activities are designed to give the struggling learner a sense of completion of a task, while at the same time providing extension for the most able learner.

• The activities feature ‘drag-and-drop’ answering and supported typing of the text.

• Animated feedback encourages learners, giving them a sense of achievement.

Worksheets

Printable worksheets related to each story are available for extra practice, homework, classroom activities or assessment.

Talking Stories is easy to use

• Child-friendly design with easy navigation.

• All instructions are sound-based.

• Children listen to a story while following it on the screen, and can listen to the same page again if necessary.

• In the lower level each word is highlighted as the child reads it.

• Children are able to listen to the story in their home language first, to build understanding, and then switch to the language of learning and teaching.

Licences

A Single User Licence consists of 64 graded storybooks for levels 1 to 3 in one language for one user.

A Network Licence consists of 64 graded storybooks for levels 1 to 3 in one language for an entire school.

For more information, contact Macmillan Education:

Tel: 011 731 3300

Email: customerservices@macmillaneducation.co.za

Website: www.macmillan.co.za

The relationship between adequate reading ability and economic well-being

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.]

Adequate Reading Skills Defined

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.

2018: The Year for Education par Excellence

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

REFERENCES

[i] http://www.up.ac.za/media/shared/164/ZP_Files/pirls-literacy-2016-hl-report-3.zp136320.pdf

[ii] https://www.timeslive.co.za/sunday-times/opinion-and-analysis/2018-01-13-the-real-matric-rate-and-the-real-site-of-failure-in-education/

[iii] https://www.linkedin.com/feed/update/urn:li:activity:6344575666863824896

 

Why it’s so important to make time for reading

Based on the experience of Stimulus Maksima! over the past twenty years, less than 5% of learners in many top South African schools can currently read relevant graded material on the required comprehension and speed levels for their respective age and grade.

This leads one to wonder: how they were able to make it into the qualified job market?

Illiteracy lowers the quality of life and hampers economic growth.This is not only a South African problem. According to figures published in 2015 by the Department of Education in America, 775 million people around the world cannot read. In many countries, more value is placed on the education of boys, leading to a disproportionately high number of females remaining illiterate into adulthood.

Apart from the economic and quality of life benefits, research has shown that reading reduces stress levels, improves memory function and leads to better quality of sleep. Some of the other benefits of reading include: learning new skills; changing perspectives; and enhancing awareness about different subjects.

The younger one starts learning to read, the sooner the benefits can be obtained.  The battle against inadequate reading skills and illiteracy will intensify in the years to come as people increasingly tend to spend less time reading and more time watching television. The only way to counter it is for schools, tertiary institutions and companies to have a specific focus and measuring system in place that empowers their learners, students and employees to overcome the negative and catastrophic impacts of inadequate reading skills and illiteracy.

Stimulus Maksima! offers tools and solutions that can help toddlers to adults to improve their English and Afrikaans reading and learning skills.

Stimulus Maksima joins ADESSA

ADESSA welcomes on board yet another new member, Stimulus Maksima.  When asked what the company is all about, Lotta Engelbrecht, the executive director, said:

We assist our clients, ranging from toddlers to adults, in obtaining their desired reading literacy and numeracy levels.

 “Our computer-aided learning systems are based on auto-remedial principles and monitor progress on a realtime basis.

“A variety of schools, private centers, parents assisting their children at home, as well as students and adults wanting to improve their reading skills, use our philosophy, services and products with great success.”

A Mind Activation System to develop your visual, reading and cognitive skills

The Directors of Lectorsa, Thomas and Minda Marshall, firmly believe that to create a better future we must be able to think clearer, as well as read and comprehend better.

Expectations for students and people in the workplace have increased dramatically, yet our methods of interacting with information have not. With an explosion of data across the globe, a GAP formed between students and the curriculum – placing learners, students and the workforce under a lot of strain. The world we live in has changed a lot and it keeps on changing; so, it is important to develop visual and cognitive skills.

Information is multiplying by the hour and we have less and less time to assimilate and integrate existing and new information.  LAB-on-line was created to bridge this GAP and to supercharge the abilities of students and the leaders of tomorrow.

Lectorsa (a member of ADESSA) is a South African-based company that created a Mind Activation System called LAB-on-line. The programme offers the basis to ensure a strong foundation for future interaction with knowledge and information.  How many times do you find yourself reading a passage and realising that you did not understand what you read?  Or  perhaps you cannot remember what you read. The reason for this is that we learn how to read, but we seldom are taught the value of reading-to-learn.   It has never been more important to activate minds through training and developing accurate ways to facilitate the process of reading; and thereby improving comprehension through cognitive development.

With a proven track record of effective assistance and the development of crucial cognitive skills to more than 68 000 users, LAB-on-line offers the strong foundation that is needed to excel in advanced information processing.