Empower South African children with reading skills

by Shine Literacy
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Empower South African children with reading skills
Empower South African children with reading skills
Empower South African children with reading skills
Empower South African children with reading skills
Empower South African children with reading skills
Empower South African children with reading skills
Empower South African children with reading skills
Empower South African children with reading skills
Empower South African children with reading skills
Empower South African children with reading skills
Empower South African children with reading skills
Empower South African children with reading skills
Empower South African children with reading skills
Empower South African children with reading skills
Empower South African children with reading skills
Empower South African children with reading skills
Empower South African children with reading skills
Empower South African children with reading skills
Empower South African children with reading skills
Empower South African children with reading skills
Empower South African children with reading skills
Empower South African children with reading skills
Empower South African children with reading skills
Empower South African children with reading skills
Empower South African children with reading skills
Empower South African children with reading skills
Empower South African children with reading skills
Empower South African children with reading skills
Empower South African children with reading skills
Empower South African children with reading skills
Empower South African children with reading skills
Empower South African children with reading skills
Empower South African children with reading skills
Empower South African children with reading skills
Empower South African children with reading skills
Empower South African children with reading skills
Empower South African children with reading skills
Empower South African children with reading skills
Empower South African children with reading skills
Youth reading a story to a grade 2 classroom
Youth reading a story to a grade 2 classroom

Creating a Culture of Reading @ school – Youth 4 Literacy:

To date, the programme has 28 Reading Partners directly under Shine Literacy, who are in 11 schools. These RPs are attached to Shine Literacy and receive their stipend from Youth @ Work, under the Youth Employment Services (YES) programme. Due to the low numbers, they have been placed in Grade 3 classes only. Their primary task is to conduct a paired reading 12 – 15-minute activity with each child every second day (some varied success to this statistic as ODK data shows). They should also facilitate a storytelling session with the whole class daily.

Shine Literacy held 12 workshops in the first two weeks of January to support its current schools with upskilling the BEEI youth who function as teaching assistants (TAs) in their schools. We held these workshops in clusters for all schools (18) which will be facilitating the Y4L programme. We trained 185 young people on the paired and shared reading methodology along with basic professional support for working in schools. This was very well received by all stakeholders - with some circuit managers briefly attending the sessions. This can be a potentially big growth market for Shine, as it is a nationwide initiative, with most teachers and schools unable to effectively support the young people in their schools.

To date, in Phase Two from April 2022, 202 Teaching Assistants (TAs)  have been trained for the second time running, in 18 Y4L schools. The intention is to have these TAs implement paired and shared reading in their respective schools in all the Foundation Phase classes they are attached to. We are encouraging paper-based manual ODK capturing but those who have smartphones have been trained to use this capturing tool. The Four CCR coordinators have been requested to include the TAs in their weekly schools’ quality assurance and support visits, to ensure maximum programme uptake and correct implementation of the paired reading methodology.

Teacher Community of Practice (CoP) sessions have been held in both Term 1 and Term 2.

We held a CoP for the first time on an online platform for all teachers to dial in. Upon reflection, the Programme team decided that this was not a very effective method. In Term 2, CoPs have been held in person in each school, with the Grade 2 and 3 Teachers participating. To date, we have held 10  CoPs with a total reach of 66 Foundation Phase educators in attendance.

Youth reading one-on-one with a child
Youth reading one-on-one with a child
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Y4L training session
Y4L training session

Youth 4 Literacy (Y4L)

Our first group of 32 youth were trained during the week of 14th to 18th of February. We are hoping to have these youth placed in schools by the 21st of February. The first batch of youth in our staggered start approach will be placed in grade 3 classrooms in the following schools: Gateway Primary; Masonwabe Primary; Welwitschia Primary; Kannemeyer Primary; Levana; Litha Primary; Lwazi Primary; Sonwabo Primary; Walmer Estate Primary and Ottery Road Primary.

 

Moreover, we will continue to send home termly Shine @home packs to Youth 4 Literacy and Chapter Schools. We have sent out 14 498, Grade 1, 2 and 3 packs for Term 1, based on last year's numbers. By the end of 2022 we will send out plus minus  57 992 Shine @home distribution packs. 

 

Story Time with Shine, Shine’s datafree Mobi-Site had 54 000 people logged on,by the end of 2021. However, Google Analytics indicates that 27 000 were returning users, or users that stayed to browse the site. Our aim this year is to increase our users to 100 000, through concentrated marketing as well as our weekly broadcast messages. We’re in a fortunate position this year to have an Afrikaans and Xhosa trainer as a part of our team, this means we will be able to offer content in classrooms and on our mobi-site in these respective languages as well. 

Y4L youth receive certificates of attendance
Y4L youth receive certificates of attendance
Y4L 2022 cohort
Y4L 2022 cohort
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Adult reading with two children
Adult reading with two children

Project Overview

A summary of major successes/failures of the project:

Shine Literacy’s programmes are aligned to the South African Department of Basic Education’s Sector Action Plan for 2024, an evidence-based, inspiring directive. Focusing on every child in Grades 1, 2, and 3, our primary objective is to address systemic challenges at home and at school while ensuring that children have daily access to reading resources and a positive reading champion. 

Shine has worked at delivering well-resourced reading support at homes providing caregivers and children with invaluable tools to help reduce the literacy gap between high and low achieving learners and develop a culture of reading at home.  

Take-home resource packs

The Shine Home Resource packs include books, stationery, children’s magazines, and parental support materials, and flyers. 

A total of 54 994, Creating a Culture of Reading @home take-home packs have been distributed to 14 998 children in 47 schools nationally. 

  • 7 Centre schools in Cape Town, 1031 Grades 2 and 3 children 
  • 31 Chapter Schools across 4 provinces, 6 614 Grades 2 and 3 children
  • 9 Youth 4 Literacy schools in Cape Town, 2 558 Grades 2 and 3 children

To date, Shine Literacy has spent a total of R1,295,042 on these distribution packs. 

The @home resource packs include TIME (Together in my Education) home packs for Grade 1 learners.  These termly packs, available in three languages, provide daily activities which build language, mathematics, and life skills. Implementation instructions for parents and caregivers are supported through weekly digital messages.  Shine has distributed 17 942 TIME packs to date across 47 schools, 4 795, Grade 1 learners received these packs in our schools. The total cost of the packs is R224 275 for this academic year.

Shine Literacy has developed supporting videos that are available on our data-free website. These videos show the methodology of paired and shared reading with a child or children in the home. They are intended to support parents, caregivers, and young people with the resources they receive in their take-home packs. Through the broadcast messaging system, parents/caregivers / older siblings etc have access to them and are able to follow the methodical approach to paired and shared reading. 

Creating a Culture of Reading @school

Creating a Culture of Reading @school is being implemented at all 46 Shine Literacy schools using various approaches depending on what each school allows. Centre / Chapter managers are currently working in Foundation classrooms, supporting paired and shared reading with children daily. Depending on the availability of willing volunteers and school consent, some Centres and Chapters have since Term 2 resumed an adopted version of Shine Literacy Hour (paired and shared reading) sessions. To ensure programme integrity, all schools which are implementing SHL have at the beginning of Term 2 been administering WELA assessments for each Grade 2 and 3 child coming on the programme. 

Challenges/Solutions: 

  • Class rotation Children at schools supported by Shine Literacy attend school on a rotational basis. At some of our schools, this means that a child will only attend school twice a week or for an entire week and then miss the following week. This has an impact on school attendance when children do attend during this week as they have become accustomed to not attending school. Our Shine Centre’s and Chapters are impacted by this as it means that children have missed chunks of the curriculum and teachers are resistant to allowing them to leave the classroom. We have overcome this issue by allowing flexibility in our programme, we no longer have a strict literacy hour, instead, we have advised our staff to situate themselves close to the class and pull children out for a 15-minute paired reading session. This also means that an entire class will receive reading time. We’ve asked teachers to add our Centre/Chapter managers to their WhatsApp groups so that we can send our weekly WhatsApp messages with guided reading examples and links to our data free mobi-site.  
  • Data requirements Data continues to be a challenge for our parents and schools. Our Zero-rated mobi-site seeks to meet our stakeholders’ needs. However, there are instances where we require parental engagement through the use of data messaging systems. The alternative is holding in-person meetings with stakeholders.
  • Access to schools due to COVID Protocols Some schools do not allow outside visitors on school premises which means volunteers were not able to support reading in these schools. However, with vaccine rollouts, principals are allowing volunteers back into schools to support programmes. It is still critical for all Shine staff and volunteers to adhere to strict non-pharmaceutical interventions to stop the spread of COVID in the schools we work in, ensuring we have enough sanitisers, masks and well-ventilated rooms.

Looking forward:

  • In 2022, Shine Literacy will be implementing the Youth 4 Literacy (Y4L) programme in 22 schools in the Western Cape. One hundred and sixty (160) recently matriculated, unemployed youth will become Reading Champions in Grades 2 and 3 classrooms. The youth will be trained to conduct paired reading with each child daily and will be shown how to read stories to the whole class. They will also be responsible for monitoring books that children borrow to take home. Shine Literacy will be encouraging Shine Reading Champions to work with the class teacher and to conduct any other activities that support a reading culture at school. 
  • Due to the success of our take-home packs thus far we will continue to distribute resources in 2022. 
  • We will also be starting a series of data free webinars to support families in their homes and continue to update our Mobi-site with more languages. 

Youth 4 Literacy (formerly known as Khanyisa) Project Objectives:

This project area has two core objectives (note that this shows the theoretical pathway for change – the longer-term impacts will not be measurable in the short- to medium term):

1. To recruit, train and place unemployed youth as reading partners in Foundation Phase classes.

2. To develop children’s reading and language skills as a critical foundation for future learning and life success.

These two aims, working concurrently are built on existing blueprints of an organisational design (The youth training and employment model), and content plug-in (The Creating a Culture of Reading) to simultaneously provide meaningful work experience in the social sector, and an experience that can develop an entrepreneurial spirit, a passion for education, and the development of key C21st competencies in the youth, while ensuring that learners are able to reach critical literacy learning milestones, by increasing their motivation to read, enriching learning spaces, and ensuring that opportunities to read abound.

Long term objective for children: This will begin to open up spaces where children can read for enjoyment, something considered a luxury in impoverished communities, with little or no access to resources, and low levels of social capital. The model is built on a strong, and proven model for literacy instruction, but also around concepts of reading for enjoyment, and learning through reading activities as ‘play’.

Long term objective for youth: It is now well documented that the first job placement is a critical lever for securing lasting full-time employment and that once this is secured, even with significant movement, people tend to remain employed. Enabling the youth to seize opportunities for exposure and experience in the world of work has substantial benefits, and employing them in the social sector has shown to have a significant impact on pro-social behaviour and has profound positive benefits for critical ‘growth-mindset capabilities.

Today, for every 1000 labour market participants each year, only 43 are able to find jobs in the formal sector. According to Stats SA, the official youth (15 – 34-year-olds) unemployment rate in South Africa in the first quarter of 2021 was 46.3%, a level likely to be exacerbated by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Finding new and meaningful ways of employing young people in the social sector could provide for significant gains in employment as well as social outcomes.

Prepping to send out packs
Prepping to send out packs
Child reading a book
Child reading a book
Two children reading a book
Two children reading a book
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Karabo
Karabo

The month of June in South Africa is Youth Month. A day where we commemorate the youth of 1976 who stood up against the brutal and unjust Apartheid government. These youth were fighting for an equal education system. Although today we have freedom in South Africa, equal education is still something we are working towards. Covid-19 has unfortunately reversed most of the gains made as our education system is strained once more. There is still hope though, we spoke to a number of young people in our centres/chapters to find out from them what inspires and motivates them as youth volunteers in our centres/chapters. This is Karabo's story. 

Karabo says: The work I do at Shine gives me the greatest opportunity to impact life positively every session. Seeing the learners excited to learn something new each day, encourages me to do more and give my best at all times. There is nothing in the world that can be compared to the feeling I get when I see all the breakthroughs the learners have and seeing their smiles after mastering something is just priceless. 

When we asked her what inspired her: I am inspired by everyone who is willing to work hard, earn an honest living and live for a purpose. One of my biggest inspirations is Oprah Winfrey; growing up she didn't have it easy, but she made it a point in life that she succeeds and gives back to the less fortunate. Just like Oprah Winfrey, I am willing to work hard no matter how long it takes to change my home situation, as well as the lives of others. "Failure will never overtake me if my determination to succeed is strong enough" - an inspirational quote by OG Mandino.

What would she like to say to other young people: As young people, we are facing a lot of challenges that can easily shift our focus on goals. Poverty is one of the socio-economic issues that has hit us hard for many years and it's up to us to address it. We cannot continue being influenced by the blind-sighted society that sets deadlines for success and tells us that the road to success has no potholes. With hard work, determination, discipline, and passion all dreams can come true. Nothing is impossible, strong walls shake but never collapse. Let's keep our heads in the game.

And where does she see herself in five years: In 5 years I would like to see myself as a qualified teacher and businesswoman. I am one of the people that strongly believe that "Education is the key to success". The reason I would like to become an educator is that I understand the importance of having a good foundation of education in one's life.  I would also like to have registered my public transport business for school children. The aim of this business is job creation and providing safe & affordable transport in our communities.

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A volunteer and a child play a game
A volunteer and a child play a game

Shine Literacy has sought to provide invaluable support for parents, caregivers, teachers, and learners. During the Covid-19 pandemic, it became even more important for us to find ways to continue to provide our invaluable services and support to communities in need. One such way we can do this is by providing much-needed take-home packs for Foundation Phase children. The need was evident after President Cyril Ramaphosa announced a series of lockdown regulations that meant that children would miss most of the school year. Without access to schools, many children in the communities we serve have very little access to educational materials in their homes and unreliable internet access to be able to access material online.

The shortened 2020 academic year meant that children in the Foundation Phase lost an estimated 32% (65 days) of their school year when compared to the planned 2020 school calendar. However, school closures were not the only reason for children losing valued time at school. A combination of scheduling factors and socio-economic factors also contribute to their total days lost. 

With many schools adopting a staggered approach to reopening classrooms, children are still spending a portion of their school week at home while schools are technically open. Due to this, it is difficult to quantify exactly how many days on average were lost per child, outside of the official school closure days issued by the Department of Basic Education.

The government-mandated lockdowns left the onus on the respective provinces to come up with a plan and strategy to ensure learning continues through the year. While some did turn to online learning and resources, many simply did not have the ability to make the seamless switch from classroom to online learning. Before the pandemic, many teachers in the country had not received substantive formal technology training, either to support blended teaching and learning or to fully apply online learning. This further compounded the problems faced by teachers and learners and emphasized the importance of physical take-home resources. This provided a unique opportunity for Shine to step in and lend a hand to already struggling communities.

Read more here.

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Organization Information

Shine Literacy

Location: Cape Town - South Africa
Website:
Facebook: Facebook Page
Twitter: @shineliteracy
Project Leader:
Pumza Marubelela
Cape Town, South Africa
$21,336 raised of $32,000 goal
 
304 donations
$10,664 to go
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