Jul 16, 2018

Readers are Leaders: June Holiday Reading Clubs

NB: For full report including images please see attachment 'Global Giving blog - FINAL PDF'


Meet some of our Literacy Tutors & read the highlights of the June Holiday Reading Clubs in Gauteng and Western Cape

Under the theme ‘Readers are Leaders’, learners in Gauteng and Western Cape celebrated Youth Month along with our Literacy Tutors in the Holiday Reading Clubs. Our Reading Clubs during the period June – July are filled with electric energy and excitement, offering a warm atmosphere and beating the Winter Chills. This wonderful celebration of reading took place in all four LT-schools throughout Gauteng (Ekukhanyisweni Primary School, Iphuteng Primary School, F C Carter Primary School, Diepsloot Primary) and in four of our LT-schools throughout the Western Cape (Groendal Primary School, Wemmershoek Primary School, Sobambisana Primary School, Pauw Gedenk Primary School). Some of the Clubs were held during the last week of term 18-22 June 2018, due to school concerns over teacher presence over the holiday break, and others were held during the June school holidays 25-29 June 2018.

 Learners participating in our Community Literacy Tutor programme, as well as other children in the township communities of Diepsloot, Alexandra, Franschhoek, Wemmershoek, Khayeltisha and Wellington were able to enjoy a fun-filled week participating in various reading activities. These activities ranged from playing lots of games, such as cat and mouse, treasure hunt, twister and lots of ball games, as well as book discussions, arts and craft, role-playing, games involving newspapers (e.g. newspaper dress-up, newspaper hunt, constructing a sentence using different newspapers, and of course lots of book reading. Each day had a different skill focus, such as team work, commitment, respect, communication, playing for fun not to win, listening, caring and sharing, confidence, perseverance & determination, memory & focus, and spelling & grammer. Throughout the activities, learners and Literacy Tutors could be seen throughout the Clubs/schools, using their imagination and creativity to confidently express their individual talents through various mediums.  For example, at Wes-Eind Primary, a talent show was given by learners, showcasing their rights such as culture, language, dancing and reciting their gratitude to freely express themselves as individuals.

Furthermore, prior to the Holiday programme, our LTs from Diepsloot -led by area supervisor Mlungisi and programme supporter  Makgotso- were able to convene a skills-transfer training where they shared what they learned from the A Chance to Play training. The ACTP Training equipped them with a firm understanding of Play as a vital resource for the development and wellbeing of children, as they explored the many ways it can encourage learning for literacy and how it is every child’s right to play.

 We enjoyed the holiday fun with a total number of 1614 children in Gauteng - a great improvement and success following the inaugural programme last year- and 810 children in the Western Cape. The children participating in the Community Reading Clubs ranged between grade R and grade 8 (ages 4-12), which goes to show how wide the reach is of this safe, educational and recreational infrastructure that help2read has established in these disadvantaged communities.



Meet some of our Literacy Tutors

Meet some of the young people enrolled in the Literacy Tutor Programme in 2018 that have contributed to the success of these Holiday Reading Clubs.


Refilwe Matomela – Ekukhanyisweni Primary School (Alexandra)

“My hopes for the youth in my community - that they would make good choices, challenge their minds and not be afraid to voice their concerns”

 Refilwe Matomela is a Literacy Tutor at Ekukhanyisweni Primary Primary School in Johannesburg. Refilwe enrolled in the year-long programme after hearing about it through a friend. “More young people should get involved in the programme - it’s an opportunity to stay away from negativity and keep safe from crime”, said Refilwe. She believes the whole community benefits when a child learns to read. “Reading helps the community by creating great leaders that are informed”, she explained. “I can have an impact on the future through the children that I tutor.”


Michelline Davids (Second year LT) – Wes-Eind Primary (Franschhoek)

“Grow a love of books and you will break the cycle of poverty and unemployment.”

Michelline Davids is a Literacy Tutor at Wes-Eind Primary School. She believes learning to read is crucial in ending poverty and changing her community for good. “More young people should get involved in this programme to help break the cycle of poverty; youth are the future and by helping them develop a love of reading, they’ll be able to finish school and create a better future for themselves.” Michelline, we couldn’t agree more!

Porche Fortuin – Wemmershoek Primary School (Wemmershoek)

“When a community is able to read they can understand and when they understand, they know, which then ignites a desire to know more, also to be more, and finally work toward something better.”

 Meet Porche Fortuin, a Literacy Tutor Team Leader at Wemmershoek Primary. With the dream of becoming a teacher, the LT-Programme provided the perfect opportunity for Porche to gain hands-on experience working with children. She said: “This program is unlike anything I have ever encountered. I’ve learnt that I have the power to motivate a child to love reading and that I am capable of helping a child grow in confidence. I personally would advise that more members of the youth should get involved in this program because not only will they be able to help empower a child through education, they will also realize the potential within themselves.’’


 Jevine Goliath – Wemmershoek Primary School (Wemmershoek)

“Every child needs someone to help them in the right direction and if I can help only one it would already make a huge difference.”

 Meet Jevine Goliath, Literacy Tutor at Wemmershoek Primary School. With the aspiration to become a teacher or social worker, Jevine joined the programme as the next step towards pursuing her dreams. Not only has Jevine personally grown since joining the programme, she’s watched her learners develop too. “It’s heartwarming to see a child with a very low self-esteem grow into one who participates and can take the lead.” Jevine believes youth can be positive role models in their communities through the Literacy Tutor Programme. “Today we are fighting against all kinds of bad elements and with more youth actively involved to stand as role models to help young children make wise and informative decisions, we can only achieve great results.”


Mandela Day – 18th July – give the gift of reading

If you want to support us in expanding these successful Reading Clubs to more townships in the near future, and thereby make a change in the lives of thousands more children and youth in disadvantaged communities throughout South Africa, Mandela Day would be the perfect opportunity to do so.
This year marks 100 years since Nelson Mandela’s birth. We invite you, our partners and supporters, to join us on our mission to reignite the joy of reading in children this Mandela Day in the #100by100 Challenge.  Mandela Day is on 18 July and this year we will be reviving reading rooms and spaces at partner schools in Cape Town and Johannesburg, as well as collecting items for Resource Boxes that will be gifted to under-resourced schools. There are three ways you can get involved and make a BIG difference in the lives of children that struggle to read!

  • Revamp a Reading Space: Volunteer your time and join us in creating and exciting and engaging reading space in an under-resourced school. Having a dedicated space for reading that is inviting for learners goes a long way in encouraging reading. Gather your colleagues, friends or family members, or come solo, and make a big difference! Contact us for more information.
  • Run a Collection Drive: We need a range of items to help create engaging reading spaces at under-resourced schools, as well as items for our Resources Boxes which we will be gifting to carefully selected schools to help expand their literacy reach. To view our inventory wish-list for the revamp and resource boxes, please click here.
  • Donate: If you can't volunteer on the day, or are not based in South Africa, you can still make a difference. We're thrilled to announce that every donation we receive on Mandela Day through the Global Giving platform will be matched up to 50%! Be the legacy this Mandela Day, give the gift of reading! Find our Global Giving project page here.

May 15, 2018

2018 Promoting Literacy in SA's Township Programme

LT Launch Diepsloot Johannesburg
LT Launch Diepsloot Johannesburg

Since we began our very first reading programme in 2006, we have worked in over 223 schools and helped over 14,000 children learn to read. Our work confronts the severely low levels of literacy in South Africa's children and seeks to ensure that the youth is employable and able to lift their communities out of poverty. With statistics clearly indicating the need for holistic, consistent and innovative approaches to this problem, we are pleased to reflect on the results of the great work produced with the help our supporters and our teams collectively. As at the end of March 2018 we have witnessed 2037 learners being assisted through the various Help2read programmes.     


Our core reading help programme has demonstrated its effectiveness as a method for developing literacy, reading skills and the enjoyment of reading in young learners in South Africa for over a decade. Based on the model of our sister charity in the UK, Beanstalk, we have trained volunteers who have supported children in over-crowded public primaryschools providing one-on-one reading and literacy support for at least two 30-minute sessions each week to 2 or 3 learners whose reading and literacy skills fall below desired grade levels. It has been through these volunteers dedication and commitment that we have we’ve witnessed children not only learn to read, but also gain confidence therefore excelling in school.  It’s for this reason that we kicked off the start of our 2018 academic year, celebrating these amazing individuals on International Thank You Day through the launch of our #MyReadingHelper Campaign. Learners were asked to share what they thought about their Reading Helpers, and vice versa. Giving birth to the first  #MyReadingHelper campaign video series which we are pleased to see it inspiring other members of society to join and contribute to making a positive impact on the lives of children that struggle to read just by commiting to as little as one hour twice a week. Watch their stories in our #MyReadingHelper video series here: https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=%23MYreadinghelper

An additional help2read Thank you to the 286 new volunteers who have joined since the beginning of the 2018 school year, we look forward to seeing you and your learner’s stories in the 2019 #MyReadingHelper video series.


Literacy Tutors Programme Expansion

Our Literacy Tutor (LT) programme was enhanced in 2017 with the aim of providing additional opportunities for literacy development in poor communities whilst expanding the programme of youth work experience.  With the youth unemployment rate averaging at 51.91 percent from 2013 until 2017, reaching an all-time high of 55.90 percent in the second quarter of 2017 and a record low of 48.80 percent in the fourth quarter of 2014. The LT programme creates opportunities for income generation for these young literate people (18 – 29 year olds) in a sustainable youth-operated income-generating and contributing to support struggling learners

2017 Literacy Tutors & Community Reading Clubs Review:

  • Implemented in three under-resourced townships in South Africa
  • Wemmershoek (Western Cape)
  • Alexandra (Gauteng)
  • Paarl (Western Cape)
  • Wellington (Western Cape

Over 2,000 children attended the Holiday Reading Clubs and were able to strengthen their interest and love for reading through engaging in fun activities.

Following this success, we are happy to report on the expansion to two new equally needing areas namely:

  • Diepsloot (Gauteng)
  • Khayelitsha (Western Cape)

These holiday Clubs are key to building essential community services to support working parents whilst expanding the opportunities for primary school children to learn and have fun. In addition the aim was to provide additional opportunities for literacy development and prevent what is termed the ‘’holiday literacy slide” that often happens to children from low-income communities -such as the townships we work in. The injection of these clubs provides links to improve on the culture of reading, resources (educational games/books) through reading activities throughout the holiday periods.

Resources alone are part of the equation; we are delighted to report on the introduction of the 2018 new Literacy Tutors at the new and continued partner schools. Our Literacy Tutor Programme in Johannesburg expanded the programme to a new area, Diepsloot North of Johannesburg and continues to serves more schools in Alexandra Township. New partners schools are:

  • Diepsloot Primary 4 in Diepsloot
  • F C Carter Primary School in Alexandra.

The implication of this expansion sees an exciting of:

  • 47 Literacy Tutors enrolled in the programme in Johannesburg
  • 101 Literacy Tutors enrolled in Cape Town
  • 1060 Total Learners being helped

Highlights Celebrated

Celebrations of 2018 South African Library Week and World Storytelling Day, saw the launch of our very first Reading Tour and other exciting activities to motivate learners to visit their local library and get reading.

Our Johannesburg team hosted our very first schools Reading Tour, which kicked off at the start of SA Library Week on 19 March. During which we enjoyed the visits with 8-year-old author Khanya, who read to her peers at Observatory Girls Primary School our other partner schools in Johannesburg. The Mother-daughter author team Bianca & Khanya read from their book ‘I Love Me’.  Children’s author Lebohang Masango later read her book ‘Mpumi’s Magic Beads’ to our little readers.

Western Cape team, along with Volunteers and Literacy Tutors, celebrated World Storytelling Day (20 March) at a number of partner schools. Activities varied in theme such as the learners of Portia Primary were treated to fun and interactive sessions and readings with Melanie Lippert; while learners at Simon’s Town Primary School were treated to a creative drawing workshop facilitated by the founder of “Little Bo Babies’, Schatz.

Help2read team is proud of all the participants and supporters who contribute to the spreading of the love of literacy and we are certain that there are a great number of budding authors in the making amidst the learners.

2018 Participants of World Storytelling Day & SA Library week

  • Diepsloot 4 Primary School
  • Pauw Gedenk Primary School
  • Iphuteng Primary School
  • Simons Town Primary School
  • Observatory Girls Primary School
  • Van Wyks Vlei Primary School
  • Mbekweni Primary School
  • Westcott Primary School
  • Melpark Primary School
  • Portia Primary School

New Partnerships one Block at a time

We recently partnered with Care For Education to incorporate LEGO Duplo into our Book Boxes at schools and external partners. This partnership saw the help2read staff and Literacy Tutors attend training in order to obtain the knowledge necessary to use LEGO effectively in our one-on-one reading sessions as LEGO facilitators

help2read Staff & Literacy Tutors at the LEGO Facilitator Training

On 27 March, we hosted our first LEGO workshop for volunteers at St Mary’s Primary in Cape Town. Volunteers had the opportunity to experience first-hand how learning through play can be beneficial and how experiential learning is used to impart key skills with children when LEGO is employed:

  • Pre-reading and pre-writing skills
  • Perceptual skills
  • Memory
  • Cognitive flexibility
  • Self-control
  • Teamwork
  • Listening skills


Where to from here?

Teaching a child to read and write can change their life and yours, forever. When you volunteer as a Reading Helper or Literacy Tutor, you’re equipping children with a life-long skill that will help them get the most out of their schooling. The ripple effects of your effort include tackling unemployment, breaking the cycle of poverty, and upholding democracy. Empowering young people with the tools to not only access information necessary to their success, but to also record, interpret and contribute intellectually to their community. 

When you donate and sponsor a child, you enable us to train and equip our Reading Helpers & Literacy Tutors who will reach more learners and engage young children in reading activities; thereby increasing the culture of reading that promotes family literacy.

Read Aloud Diepsloot Primary School
Read Aloud Diepsloot Primary School
Alex Primary School Learners
Alex Primary School Learners
Mother's Day Activities
Mother's Day Activities
LT's & Learners WC
LT's & Learners WC
help2read Staff & Literacy Tutors LEGO Training
help2read Staff & Literacy Tutors LEGO Training
h2r Mall Activation Pre event
h2r Mall Activation Pre event

Feb 13, 2018

Help2read Celebrates World Read Aloud Day

Wescott Primary's Teddy Bear Day
Wescott Primary's Teddy Bear Day

“There is more treasure in books than in the entire pirate’s loot on Treasure Island.” – Walt Disney

In the spirit of the words by the talented and inspiring Walt Disney, help2read celebrated the 2018 World Read Aloud Day on 1 February by encouraging our schools, partner organisations and supporters to read aloud to their children, learners, colleagues and friends. Our enthusiastic teams went out on the day in full force, visiting schools and partner organisations to celebrate the special day.

We were thrilled to see so many schools and organisations enthusiastically celebrate the day. Everyone, from young, early readers to mature book lovers, found a unique and engaging way to celebrate their appreciation for reading.

Westcott Primary School celebrated with a Teddy Bear-themed day. Learners each sought to showcase their love for storytelling in the glorious summer outdoors, whilst the Grade 7 Learners read aloud to their Grade 1’s & 2’s.


Alicedale Primary School educators dressed up in costume for the occasion, drawing inspiration from classic storybook characters, and read aloud to their grade R to 7 learners whilst in character.

Portia Primary School didn’t hold back in their celebrations, hosting a series of events throughout the day to commemorate World Read Aloud Day. A total of 746 learners participated, showcasing their passion and love for stories. Learners wearing their “Proud to Read Aloud” Badges were later treated to the tri-lingual story on soccer compiled by Nal’ibali and read by Melanie Lippert, Portia Primary librarian and Nal’ibali reading ambassador, Andy Maqondwana.

What would World Read Aloud Day celebrations be without a special author appearance? The Grade 3 class at Diepsloot Primary School was spoilt to have author of How Many Ways Can You Say Hello?, Refiloe Moahloli, visit and read to them. Their class of 44 enjoyed listening and then joining in when she started singing the greetings in various South African languages. The children thoroughly enjoyed listening to the story and earnestly participated in the actions. The book is filled with local imagery that each child can relate to, making it a relevant but fun learning tool. Studies show that the more joy that children experience from reading the more they learn.

With the help of our dedicated Reading Helpers, Literacy Tutors, partner organisations and schools, a total of 8403 learners were reached through World Read Aloud Day activities.

If this year’s successful celebrations are anything to go by, we can be confident that the number of enthusiastic story lovers in South Africa will grow in leaps and bounds. A huge thank you to the following schools and external partners for taking the Read Aloud Challenge and celebrating this special occasion with such enthusiasm:

  • 9miles children            
  • Groote Schuur Primary
  • Alex Primary                
  • Habibia Primary
  • Alicedale Primary          
  • Mthethwa Development Trust
  • Boundary Primary         
  • Portia Primary
  • Cecil Road Primary         
  • Rondebosch East Primary (Foundation Phase)
  • Claremont Primary         
  • Sid G Rule Primary
  • Dennegeur Primary       
  • Silverlea Primary
  • Diepgat Primary               
  • Surf Outreach
  • Diepsloot Primary           
  • Van Wyksvlei Primary
  • Emmanuel Centre for Community Outreach       
  • Westcott Primary

Authors should be inspired to continue to write stories that will feed the imaginations and satisfy this great appetite for fun and engaging books. Starting off on such a positive note, we wish to thank all our partners, readers, Reading Helpers, teachers and the entire help2read team for celebrating with us this year.



Alicedale Primary School teachers
Alicedale Primary School teachers
Portia Primary's Celebration
Portia Primary's Celebration
Author Refiloe Moahloli reading  at Diepsloot PS
Author Refiloe Moahloli reading at Diepsloot PS
Emmanuel Centre for Community Outreach
Emmanuel Centre for Community Outreach


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