Campaign afoot to get SA reading

SA needs to cultivate the culture of reading early if we are to popularise reading and make it national pastime. /123RF
SA needs to cultivate the culture of reading early if we are to popularise reading and make it national pastime. /123RF

The National Education Collaboration Trust is on a mission to mobilise communities to prioritise reading.

To encourage the spirit of reading in SA, the trust has started a national reading plan.

The trust's CEO Godwin Khosa said: "Reading is one of those areas we have had problems [with] for years and we reconfirmed this in the past two years that the great proportion of our learners cannot read for meaning.

"This was also confirmed by President Cyril Ramaphosa in his State of the Nation Address after the May elections that the early childhood education system was not sufficiently equipping learners to read for understanding."

Khosa said the national reading coalition will visit schools across the country.

"We have set up [a] teacher, principal circuit reading club so as to encourage the spirit of reading. I mean they can't teach children to read if they don't read. If adults don't read our children will not take it seriously," Khosa said.

He said many organisations work in a reading space and they decided that there is a need to close a gap in areas not serviced by both government and organisations. "We also want to prepare teachers to teach reading from university and we need to have resources which are age relevant."

According to a International Reading Literacy study, which tested the reading comprehension of pupils in their fourth year of school, 78% of grade 4 pupils could not read for meaning. Also, a research by the University of Pretoria told a similar story - that eight out of 10 grade 4 pupils "still cannot read at an appropriate level".

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