Programme update October 2019 - Literacy Tutor Programme, Diepsloot
Our Community Literacy Tutor programme serves the dual purpose of addressing poor levels of literacy in pre-primary and primary school learners and the lack of work experience in unemployed, matriculated youth living in disadvantaged and under-resourced township communities. We recruit and train young unemployed adults from within township communities and employ them in a one-year personal and professional development programme to (i) provide one-on-one reading help to public primary school learners; (ii) to establish and implement extra-mural (after-school) and holiday reading club programmes in the neighbourhoods where they live and (iii) to enable them to identify and access opportunities for further study or employment in which they can thrive. This programme update will focus on the Literacy Tutor Programme in Diepsloot township in 2019.
Progress to date
The project has been implemented in Diepsloot Township at Diepsloot Primary School 4 in Gauteng. A total of 20 unemployed youth were successfully recruited and trained and placed as tutors providing direct individual reading support to 202 learners under the guidance of the Area Supervisor, Robbie, an outstanding Literacy Tutor (LT) from our 2018 group. An addition 600 children have so far benefited from regular interactive reading activities through our After School and Holiday Reading Clubs. There has also been greater community reach through partnership with a local Early Childhood Development (ECD) centre in the township that allowed the tutors access to facilitate a week-long Holiday Club during the June term break. The Holiday Reading Club was open to interested primary school children from the local community and daily attendance averaged between 80-120 children. The Holiday Reading Club was hosted at our community partner, Hope Day Care Centre, where the Literacy Tutors conduct Reading Circles to the pre-readers at least twice a week as the centre is within walking distance from Diepsloot Primary School.
Term Highlights: Activities and Campaign Events
The Literacy Tutors plan their schedules around the following activities:
- Weekly session with the Grade R
- Weekly Early Childhood Development (ECD) Day Care Visits
- Weekly Reading Clubs
- Weekly Reading Adventures hosted during lunch time
- Weekly Friday LEGO free play
- Weekly LT Book Club Meetings
- Daily One on One Sessions with children who are part of the help2read programme
Events Celebrated with learners
- World Book Day: During the World book day celebrations at the school the tutors organised a book making session for the learners which was enjoyed by all.
- Mother’s Day: The Mother’s day activity was a card making session where learners were invited to make special cards for their mothers or caregivers.
- Africa Day: Each team held a map painting session representing each country and were led in discussions by the tutors about the different countries on the continent.
- World Play Day: A special day for all teams as a session of Free Play was held in all the teams.
- Child Protection Week: The tutors highlighted the rights of the children and discussed how they can all ensure they remain protected at all times.
Impact of the Project so far
To provide greater learning value to both the Literacy Tutors and the learners, we retained at least half of the team from 2018. This meant that the older team members could provide better insight into how the reading support programme could unfold and provide peer guidance to the new recruits. This has worked tremendously well for the Literacy Tutors as well as the Foundation Phase teachers. The School Management Team of Diepsloot Primary School 4 has appreciated the continuity element of the LTs and have expressed their gratitude towards the programme and the LTs presence in the school resulting in smoothly coordinated programme execution and events.
There continues to be improved positive behaviour towards reading with learners actively seeking out books and extra moments to read, even at break times with many learners drifting towards the Reading Centre. It is crucial for learners to regard reading as a pleasurable activity as this further enhances learning. Our programme is rooted in building and sustaining a culture of reading in the schools and communities we partner with to ensure continued long term benefits.
Evidence of learner improvement is being collected, and will be collated and analysed at the end of the school year in December, when final assessments have been completed. We have included the use of the EGRA system (Early Grade Reading) this year and we are positive this system of assessment will provide useful feedback on what we are doing well and what we can improve on.
The Literacy Tutors have enjoyed consistent mentoring and self-development opportunities. In addition to the core help2read training that the tutors receive when they begin the programme, we provide training opportunities throughout the year for self-development and to enrich their work as tutors. The following workshops were facilitated for the tutors:
- Nali’Bali is a reading for pleasure programme that provided reading kits to supplement the reading journey and equipped them with useful skills to host interactive and effective reading circles and clubs with large groups of children.
- Financial Literacy Training PM Skillshouse powered by Liberty provided our LTs with Financial Literacy Training. A successful training session was held at our partner, Hogan Lovells’ Sandton Office. Jessica from PM Skillshouse provided the team with an interactive session, a handbook and a light lunch at the end of the session. The LTs learned a lot from this session and we are confident that the workshop will definitely influence their abilities to manage money positively going forward.
- Professional Effectiveness Presentation which was conducted held at the Hogan Lovell’s offices as help2read has become a YES Programme implementation partner for the Alexandra Literacy Tutor Programme.
By the end of the programme in two months, Literacy Tutors will have undergone further training, including Life Skills Training Course, which will help them nurture the soft skills and personal acumen required for success in a professional /corporate environment, as well as a workshop specifically geared towards CV-writing and interview skills.