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.
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.
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.”