Twenty-eighteen dawned with the latest findings of the Progress in International Reading Literacy Study (PIRLS) fresh on our minds.
The study presented a devastating truth that 8 out of 10 Grade 4 children in South Africa cannot read for meaning in any language. As an organisation dedicated to literacy advancement, the PIRLS findings called for even greater commitment to the execution of our mission and vigilant attention to determining our impact. We needed to ensure that we are indeed focussed on what works in the building of literacy skills and the promotion of a love of reading in children and their communities. Without the ability to read, children do not have the ability to learn.
In addition to our one-on-one interactions with learners during the school day, a highlight of our 2018 activity was the introduction of after-school reading clubs in the four township communities our Literacy Tutors served. Over 1 600 learners regularly participated in programmes that sought to bring reading to life in various ways–through peer and group reading, writing into reading, story dramatization and more. As importantly, our reading clubs provided safe, recreational and educational infrastructure for communities lacking such resources. These kinds of innovation in the literacy space, innovations built on collaboration and holistic reach for all, are essential for significant impact in the lives of South African learners.
Our commitment to collaborations continued throughout the year with effective and creative partnerships being built to enable collective action. We believe these partnerships are essential if we want to unlock potential and maximise efficiencies for the benefit of the children we serve. Among others, Breadline Africa has been a great partner in providing access to dedicated and beautiful reading spaces; Nal’iBali for the training of our Literacy Tutors to enable the implementation of reading clubs; Care for Education for the use of LEGO to enhance literacy; and, crucially, our sister charity in the UK, Beanstalk, for sharing key learnings and best practices with our team. Thank you all, including those we may not have mentioned.
On behalf of the learners on our programme, we would like to extend a huge thank you to all of you, our donors, supporters, partners, volunteers and tutors. You have all stepped up to the challenge of helping South Africa’s children learn to read. We look forward to the year ahead, one of great promise, deepening our literacy practice together and encouraging everyone to continue the work of helping South Africa’s children.
– Lynn Campbell, help2read Managing Director
Registered Non-Profit 063-979
UK Charity Reg No. 1109567