It was President Cyril Ramaphosa himself who recently declared that, “Early-grade reading is possibly the single most important factor in overcoming poverty, unemployment and inequality.”
According to the “Progress in International Reading Literacy Study” report, 78% of grade 4 pupils cannot read for meaning in any language. This survey, recorded in 2016, also indicated that reading scores had not improved since 2011. The ability to read in Grade 4 is regarded as crucial: from Grades 1 to 3 you learn to read‚ and from grades 4 to 12 you read to learn.
Unisa expert Nkidi Phatudi said in many township and rural schools‚ teachers trying to introduce English were at a disadvantage because of their own lack of proficiency in the language. In that way‚ literacy cracks grow into canyons.
“The value of literacy extends beyond the classroom‚ and should ideally equip children with the knowledge‚ skills and confidence to participate actively in society‚” researcher Ursula Hoadley said. “Good reading skills enable children to learn much more than their teachers might offer, and it enables them to learn independently”.
At a lecture given by education expert Professor Mary Metcalfe in Cape Town this year, she noted that only 29% of the poorest primary schools in the country had access to in-school libraries. She continued by saying that KwaZulu-Natal had been the hardest hit by the literacy crisis, where only 45.4% of pupils had their own reading textbooks.
Rally to Read: improving literacy outcomes
Rally to Read is a non-profit organisation with one goal in mind: to improve literacy at grassroots level, in remote rural communities across South Africa. For 21 years, together with The READ Educational Trust, this organisation has worked tirelessly alongside corporate and private sponsors to deliver books, teaching aids, educational toys and other much-needed resources to these schools. Remarkable headway has been made. To date, over R91-million has been raised for rural education. Over 1 000 schools have been reached through the programme, and the fruits of Rally to Read’s efforts are evident during repeated annual visits to each Rally to Read-selected school. A three-year period is assigned to each school, and in addition to resources donated, teachers are mentored to promote literacy effectively.
Coming to KZN: Rally to Read 2019
Rally to Read is looking forward to hosting rallies in KwaZulu-Natal this year, on the weekends of 31 August/1 September, and 14/15 September. We are inviting sponsors to pay it forward by sponsoring a rally. Not only are all sponsored amounts tax deductible; sponsorship fees include joining us on an unforgettable journey to rural KZN to meet the learners and teachers whose lives are enriched through Rally to Read.
Make an indelible mark in the hearts and minds of grateful learners and educators – invest in Rally to Read 2019!
To find out more, visit www.rallytoread.org.za or call 087 237 7781.