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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
Alithemba Tembani
Alithemba Tembani

Every morning, the faces of Grade 2 and 3 children in Litha Primary School, Gugulethu light up as Alithemba Tembani walks into their classrooms, to help the children practice reading and support them through their literacy and language journey.

Alithemba is a volunteer in Shine Literacy’s youth programme, which involves placing unemployed youth in Grade 2 or 3 classrooms for at least six months, where they are exclusively used as Reading Partners. The objective of this programme is to assist schools in establishing a culture of reading by increasing access to exciting books and making reading a daily practice.

As a Reading Partner, Alithemba ensures that each child in the classes has daily individual paired reading sessions. Additionally, she reads a daily story to the class.

When Alithemba walks in a classroom, the children usually holler, “Ma’am, sicela usifundele enye incwasi,” and this when translated means “Ma’am, can you please read another book with us”. This is testament that through the programme, children’s attitude towards reading positively improves as they actively call out for more reading opportunities with their Reading Partner.

“The programme is significant to the children in Gugulethu because not only do they learn how to read but they get to help or teach their brothers and sisters at home on how to read and make reading fun for them too,” said Alithemba.

“It has improved the literacy levels of the children – they are reading has increased and they taking more books home to read with more and bigger words.”

Alithemba attended Kuyasa Combined School, and she describes herself as a strong South African womxn with a unique and creative personality – a personality that comes as an advantage when working with children that have their own unique personalities and learn at their own pace.

“I have enjoyed having my own class to read and share ideas and teaching children how to become better readers. The way the [children pay] attention, participate and have fun when we do shared reading together as a class is the best experience ever,” she added.

 

  

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In 2017, Shine Literacy piloted a new programme called Khanyisa, which means ‘to ignite’ or ‘to spark’ in Xhosa. Partnering with Action Volunteers Africa (AVA) and the Western Cape Education Department’s 100 Schools Project, 90 recent matriculants were recruited and trained in our reading methodology. Trained in paired and shared reading methodology, unemployed youth are in the classroom which aims to provide every child (in the schools we are operating in) with structured time to practice reading in class to improve their reading skills. The project seeks to increase children’s exposure to levelled texts on a daily basis, with the support of a trained Reading Partner, putting reading at the core of their daily schedule in the Foundation Phase.  The programme is implemented in three languages, English, Afrikaans and isiXhosa, dependent on the language of learning and teaching.

The Khanyisa Programme involves placing unemployed youth in Grade 2 or 3 classrooms for at least six months, where they are exclusively used as Reading Partners. The objective of this programme is to assist schools in establishing a culture of reading throughout the school by increasing access to exciting books, training staff in ways to promote a love of reading and making reading a daily practice. The Reading Partner ensure that each child in the class has daily individual paired reading sessions.  Additionally, the Reading Partner reads a daily story to the class.

We have established classroom reading corners in 87 classrooms to date. In 2017, 90 Grade 2 classes benefitted from receiving a Khanyisa Reading Partner. In 2018, 53 Grade 2 classes benefitted from receiving a Khanyisa Reading Partner. In 2019, 25 youth Reading Partners have been placed in 39 Grade 3 classes to support the children in their reading daily. Through the programme we see 1 565 children weekly.

The pre-requisite for receiving Khanyisa Reading Partners is for the school community comprised of senior management and educators from across the school to attend a one-day workshop on how to establish a culture of reading in their school.

Click on the link below to read the full 2019 report. 


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Siphesihle Lando
Siphesihle Lando

Responding to South Africa's literacy crisis and the other challenges in the education system require a multi-layered and all-inclusive approach.

The schools, particularly in the outskirts and low-income communities of the country face particular kind of plights - tied to the socio-economic conditions of the communities they exist in and the historical legacies of displacement, invisibility, and appropriation.

It against that backdrop that Shine Literacy has established the Khanyisa literacy programme, which places trained unemployed youth in Foundation Phase classrooms. The youth assist teachers by providing every child in the class with structured time to practice reading, increasing their exposure to books, placing reading at the core of the daily schedule in the Foundation Phase.

Siphesihle Lando (23) is a Khanyisa volunteer at Masonwabe Primary School, at Delft and has experienced the programme to improve the academic and language skills of the children.

“The programme helps a lot of children and makes them understand the importance and benefits of reading every day, which then leads to an increase in literacy levels.”

Siphesihle has previously completed an Educare course at Northlink College. She has always loved being around children and sees Khanyisa as a positive contribution to her community.

“Volunteering in the programme was not a waste of time. It has given me the opportunity to build, invest and make change in my community and in the lives of children.”

Such youth volunteerism continues to play an active part in the development of South Africa, through quality programmes such as Khanyisa that create space for young people to lead, shape and influence the educational agenda.    

Siphesihle adds that it is also through the programme that she has gained many other skills such as effective communication and dynamic leadership.   

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Zimkhitha Mashini, former Reading Partner
Zimkhitha Mashini, former Reading Partner

Zimkitha Mashini, a former Reading Partner (2018) on the Khanyisa Programme shares her story. 

Being on the programme was both scary and exciting for me. I was worried that I would not be a good reading partner. Being on the programme took me out of my shell. The programme introduced me to myself and made me realise how much I love working with children. A bonus is that I also got to meet new people. What I loved most about the Khanyisa programme was working with children and knowing that I am changing their lives. 

The programme introduced me to many special people. I made a special connection with *Athule. Athule like his name, which means the quiet one, was a very shy child. He struggled to read and write. So whenever his teacher would give him work he would come and sit next to me. He wanted me to tell him the answers but instead, I would read out the questions to him and let him write the answers in his own words. One thing I loved about Athule was his persistence. Even though he struggled in class and with reading he never gave up. His reading improved as we slowly read together every day. I think this is because of his never give up attitude. I learned so much on this programme. Not only were we teaching children to read but we were also learning from them. These lessons made a huge impact on my life. 

This year I am grateful to be an intern at Shine Literacy at a centre where I help the centre manager run our literacy programme. I have applied to study teaching at a university while I continue to work at Shine Literacy. 

The Khanyisa programme deepened my love of reading. I've always loved reading and at home, our television stand is filled with all kinds of books. Reading books helped me extend my knowledge of English and IsiXhosa. This programme has reignited my passion for reading - I can leave reality for a little while and escape into someone else's world. 

My hope is that every child will get an opportunity to read and fall in love with books because books are magic. 

*Names have been changed to protect the identity of the beneficiaries. 

Khanyisa Programme in action (2019)
Khanyisa Programme in action (2019)
A Reading Partner reading to children (2019)
A Reading Partner reading to children (2019)
A Reading Partner reading with a child (2019)
A Reading Partner reading with a child (2019)
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Khanyisa programme impact

Shine Literacy is in its third year of implementing the Khanyisa reading programme, which aims to provide every child (in the schools we are operating in) with structured time to practice reading in class to improve their reading skills. The project seeks to increase children’s exposure to levelled texts on a daily basis, with the support of a trained Reading Partner, putting reading at the core of their daily schedule in the Foundation Phase.  In 2017 and 2018, Reading Partners were based in Grade 2 classes, however, from 2019, Reading Partners will follow the children to Grade 3 and into Grade 4 in 2020. Globally, children struggle with the Foundation Phase to Intermediate Phase transition, where there are greater expectations for learners to use language to access the curriculum as opposed to learning to read. This becomes even more complex and challenging in the South African context where the language of learning and teaching changes from mother tongue to English in Grade 4.

Currently, Khanyisa is implemented in 11 schools across the Cape Town Metro, in 39 classrooms and with a total complement of 25 unemployed youth as Reading Partners. Through the programme we see 1 565 children weekly. The reading partners are trained using the Shine Literacy methodology for Paired and Shared Reading.

A key impact of the programme was that it allowed children to have more reading opportunities during the school day.  Children gained confidence and read significantly more texts with their Reading Partner than they would have without one. Having a designated seating area for reading in the classroom created a ‘safe and fun place’ for children to read and begin to see reading as a fun but important part of their daily schedule.  Children’s attitude towards reading positively improved, with children wanting to have turns to read daily with their Reading Partners.

An unexpected yet powerful effect of the programme was on the Reading Partners, where a number have shown an interest to become teachers and have applied to pursue education studies when the course was completed.


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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
$15,726 raised of $32,000 goal
 
140 donations
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