We are often asked by parents and caregivers of primary school-going children, “How can I help my child learn to read?”. But learning to read really starts years before a child enters primary school.
In the second instalment of our Who Is Who In Literacy series we feature Wordworks, an organisation that supports early language and literacy development among children from birth to 8 years.
Last year, we took a long, hard look at the state of illiteracy in South Africa. By now, you may be well aware of the statistics and their implications, but what you may not know is what is being done by initiatives and organisations that, like ourselves, are working every day to solve the literacy crisis.
When reading becomes second nature, it’s not often that we stop to think about being able to read or what life would be like without it. In fact, once mastered, we take our literacy for granted, as if it’s a skill we’ve always had.
Every week, our volunteer Reading Helpers and Literacy Tutors passionately and patiently sit one-on-one with learners to help them learn to read. By the time children start our programme, they’ve already been identified as struggling readers. They are between grades 2 and 4, and have fallen dramatically behind in learning how to read.
Here at help2read, we believe you’re never too old to volunteer. In fact, a large majority of our volunteer Reading Helpers are over 60 years old. Studies show that when you’re further along in years, volunteering can have a number of tremendous benefits.
Today marks the celebration of International Volunteer Day, commemorating the millions of volunteers around the world who give up their time to help others. Here at help2read, our work would not be possible without the incredible men and women that volunteer their time as Reading Helpers.
There’s an enduring crisis in South Africa, the effects of which will continue to be felt for decades to come. Its impact is far reaching, from sprawling city to rural farmland. It does not discriminate against age, race or class, but its destruction is felt most deeply among the poor. It is a crisis that perpetuates inequality and poverty, and has the power to bring the country to its knees.