Primary School

READ primary school projects are in place to assist teachers with their professional development. The organisation has a different approach and, when needed, provides lesson plans and resources to prepare teachers for literacy teaching in the classroom. READ’s mission is to develop holistic, life-long learners, who are equipped for any type of educational requirement they may face. READ’s best practice incorporates training teachers in the use of the Balanced Language Programme methodologies aligned with the Curriculum Assessment Policy Statements (CAPS) curriculum and places special emphasis on the use of planning and the proper application of teaching resources.


FFS RefinersFFS Science Literacy Project 2013KZN12272187

Operating in KwaZulu-Natal Rally schools, this project gives teachers training in science literacy and science class-work. The schools are provided with a set of resources which allows them to work through the curriculum thematically and practically. At the end of each school year, a Science Expo is held where learners compete against each other, showcasing their scientific knowledge and different science projects completed throughout the year. Project trainer, Derek Potgieter, ascribes the success of the project to team-work.

The teachers have become a close-knit team who support and help each other. The success of the programme is largely due to the trusting relationships and respect for each other which have been built up over the past five years. Opportunities are created for reward and recognition. All leader-teacher training takes place in a school classroom. When necessary, a class can be called in and new strategies can be demonstrated in a “real” situation.

Derek Potgieter

Project Trainer, FFS

Derek Potgieter reports on the 2013 Mini Expo

Following the success of last years’ Mini Science Expo, the second ‘Mini-Expo’ of the FFS Science Literacy project was held on October 31, at the Underberg Country Club. The Mini-Expo has become an important event in the lives of this small community. It is a platform where teachers can present concrete evidence of their efforts in the Natural Sciences field, and show off what their learners can do. All have received the same training and resources. The competition is fair and transparent, and allows teachers to measure the results of their teaching against those of their colleagues. They can share ideas and exchange information. Efforts of both teachers and learners are recognised and rewarded. Once again, the programme was delivered in English by a team of learners for whom English is not their home language. The  competitors were keen and the standard of the work on display was excellent – an indication that teachers had not only applied what they’d learnt from last years’ experience, but  improved on it. Addressing the gathering, Mr Brian Nhleku, Circuit Inspector for the region, expressed gratitude to all who have been involved with the programme and stated that he would like to see more schools involved in future initiatives of this nature. Judges had a difficult time choosing the winning teams, which were Thukeyana Primary School in first place, last year’s winner Reichenau Mission School in second place, Goxhill Primary School in third place and Kwapitela Primary School in fourth place.


Gauteng Department of Basic EducationGauteng Primary Literacy & Mathematics StrategyGauteng1301813100 398

This was a teacher development intervention implemented in schools across Gauteng. Forty eight READ trainers worked in schools in the Johannesburg South and Sedibeng East districts. Schools were provided with readers who trained teachers in literacy development teaching. Coaches then monitored teachers extensively and gave on-site help where needed. READ is justly proud of all the coaches and project managers who worked so hard during the three years of this project’s existence and extends sincere thanks to them for their dedication.

One of the most positive outcomes of this project was the professional growth of the trainers. We asked them to report on how they felt the project benefitted them:

“I have learnt that it is so important to treat everyone with respect despite the differences you may have. This was not about individuals, but working towards achieving the same goal of  improving the learners’ results in our province.”

Phindile Mnguni


“I have learnt to be patient and to persevere, even when it is hard to do so. I have learnt that to be a leader and mentor I have to have extended knowledge to share with the teachers.”

Sibongile Tjie


“I have learnt how to empathise with people with different characters and build good relations with them. I have learnt that teachers must have objectives when they start with a lesson and that I, as a coach, must also have an objective when I go to different classes to observe the lessons that  [learners]are being taught.”

Bridgette Ntuli


“To appreciate, to have empathy, to co-operate, to be in a bigger circle and make things happen, to own and love what you do for others, to follow and be patient.”

Sempone Teisho



In the course of their work, READ trainers are often humbled and awed by the generous spirit of people in what would be considered very poor communities in terms of money, but  infinitely rich in ubuntu. A training session with teachers in rural KZN that started just after school finished for the day was valuable and the trainer watched as teachers grappled with new concepts. It was a long, busy afternoon and they were all tired, hungry and keen to go home soon. As the training continued, there was a lot of activity outside the classroom, but the trainer brushed it off as part of normal after-school distraction. Suddenly, two ladies walked into the classroom with huge pots of hot, cooked food that they began to serve to everyone. This was an exceptionally poor community and it must have been a sacrifice to feed the extra mouths, but the appreciation for the teachers’ contribution to the education of their children meant that they wanted to support the project in any way they could.


Impala PlatinumImplat's Primary School ProjectGauteng3291951

Funded by Implats, this teacher-training project takes place in three Gauteng schools. Both the Foundation and Intermediate Phase pupils benefit from teacher support and coaching. Teachers receive literacy training and classroom support visits from the trainer. It is evident that teachers are motivated, open to learning new things and genuinely concerned about learners who are performing below the required standard. Change in their classrooms was noticeable almost immediately after the first training session. The word walls, sight words, phonics and vocabulary charts were up in the classroom and  being used. This makes it easy for the trainer to coach the teachers when needed since they can demonstrate by using materials from the print-rich environment.

In one of the project schools, the Grade 4-6 teacher grouped her learners according to their reading abilities and regularly used the Group Guided Reading. She reported that “after two weeks, four out of twelve learners from Level 1 had improved and moved to Level 2”.


Kagiso TrustBeyers Naude School Intervention ProjectFree State201515949

Sponsored by the Kagiso Trust, this is a teacher-development programme being conducted in 20 Free State schools in the Thabo Mofutsanyana district. READ trainers tutor teachers and follow up with monitoring and mentoring to help them correctly apply what they have learnt. District officials are also involved since the READ trainers report back to them. READ trainers have innovated on the way Curriculum Assessment Policy Statements (CAPS) should be applied by developing a ‘pace-setters system’, which divides the expected results for the curriculum by the number of weeks available for teaching. Teacher targets are set accordingly, allowing both teachers and trainers to measure the delivery rate of the curriculum in the actual teaching process, and assist teachers whenever they lag behind. The programme is structured so that teaching is not rushed, and gaps are eliminated.


Social InnovationsPEP Student Prince Academy ProjectFree State, Gauteng, KZN, Western Cape11661760

This is an after-school project for schoolchildren in the Western Cape, KwaZulu-Natal, Gauteng and Free State. It is a combined life skills, maths and literacy training programme for teachers who assist in the PEP-sponsored Academies in the afternoons. READ provides a 42-week curriculum focused on English First Additional Language acquisition which involves exciting activities such as writing, games, reading and drama. Resources are provided for learners, and the workings of the Academies are monitored.

As PEP’s flagship corporate social investment initiative, the Student Prince Academy, which is run in existing schools, helps provide Grade 4 learners with the building blocks of education and gives them core competence training in literacy, numeracy and life skills during three after-school afternoons a week. This supplementary education keeps the children in a safe environment off the streets and equips them with a meal.

The Student Prince Academies have been fully endorsed by the Department of Education. Tests show that learners enrolled in these Academies have improved literacy scores by an average of 29%.


Ceramic FoundationCeramic Foundation Homework Assistance ProjectGauteng110160

The thrust of this project is to provide literacy development training to school leavers who are employed as homework assistants. They are trained to provide afternoon lessons and homework support to Intermediate Phase learners who have problems with their schoolwork. The homework assistants receive support from READ and the School Management Team, and work closely with the class teachers. The project helps learners improve school performance, and assists matriculants with gaining work experience. The homework assistants were asked how they felt about the project and what it has taught them – this is some feedback:

“I am very honoured to be part of the READ programme. It has taught me how to help learners who cannot read and write well. I hope to learn more about teaching. I have encouraged and helped many learners in my class who did not like school when they started with me. They did not want to attend. After I encouraged them, they liked attending my class”.

Ntombizodwa Bridgette Zigcina

Homework Assistant

“I enjoy working with learners, but sometimes when they do not want to listen to me I become discouraged. After the trainer showed us that what we are doing is important to the lives of these kids, I was more motivated. The trainer also told us how to make the learners feel wanted and cared for, because in their classrooms they feel that they are seen as slow”.

Rapuleng Isaac Lehlohonolo

Homework Assistant


Smiths MarianridgeSmiths Classroom Library ProjectKZN1431422

Focused on Durban township schools, the starting point for this project is setting up Book Corners in Grades R and 1 to 6. The teachers involved were unanimous in their opinion that independent reading for enjoyment was the most positive aspect of the project. The children are given daily opportunities to read many books, both fiction and non-fiction, to complement the formal reading programme. The ‘thank you’ letters from Grade 1 teachers reflect the joy that the Classroom Libraries have brought to the daily teaching programme:

We are so lucky that our school was chosen by you. Now our children know that reading can be fun. Both teachers and children are very grateful and excited by your gifts. Only good can come out of this project. Thank you! Thank you! God bless you always.

Rochelle Moolman

Grade 1 Teacher

Thank you for what you did, you didn’t have to do it. But we are glad that you could help. We always think of you with a glad and grateful heart. You are all very special to us. God Bless.

Naana Harrichunder

Grade 1 Teacher

Thank you for thinking of our school, especially the children. They love using the books and crayons and take good care of them. Thank you for this amazing gift and blessing. It brings joy to us when we see the smiles you have put on our learners’ faces.

Daisy Pillay

Grade 1 Teacher

Your help and donations are sincerely appreciated. We enjoy using them and the children now enjoy reading these books at their level. Thank you. God bless.

Berenice Van Wyk

Grade 1 Teacher


RedisRedis Early Reading ProjectKZN15146

The Redis Early Reading project involves working with the early grades to establish Book  and Reading Corners. In Grade R, the Book Corner is set up as the starting point and then the supporting educational toys and materials are provided. This preparation for formal teaching in Grade 1 sets the scene for establishing Reading Corners in the Foundation and Intermediate Phases.

An exciting highlight of 2013 was the linking of READATHON and Story Time. Teachers are discovering that children are motivated to read for enjoyment and discovery when, for example, folk tales and interesting non-fiction books are shared, discussed and enjoyed. A joyfulness is introduced into the classroom when the love of reading is engendered through stories and activities that are enjoyable.


Wesizwe PlatinumWesizwe Primary School ProjectNorth West6411626

READ runs this project in six primary schools in the Ledig area of North West Province. It provides training to school principals, leaders and literacy teachers in these schools by implementing tried and tested language methodologies. Appropriate learning and teaching resources are provided in tandem with the training.

The project is continually evaluated through classroom mentoring, and the assessment of the teachers’ application of the methodologies. Through this project, there is a tremendous improvement in teaching and learning and a huge difference in both learners’ and teachers’ approaches to their work. Opportunities for meaningful interactions in English between children and teachers have been provided. Teachers give the children individual attention as they assess each child’s reading -measuring progress as well as problems. The Grade R intervention is proving successful since most learners, when they get to Grade 1, have developed the basic vocabulary and pre-literacy skills to help them develop higher order reading and writing skills.


  • Learners who tested at the proficiency level at the end of Grade 1 have improved significantly over the past three years. This can be attributed to the Grade R intervention in the project, which prepares pre-school learners for formal teaching. The fact that teachers are implementing literacy methodologies more effectively has improved their teaching and positively affected learning.
  • Learners in Grade 2 are benefitting from more regular skills development work, which has led to improved language structure, grammar and comprehension skills. The quantity and quality of writing in the classroom has improved and the provision of appropriate resources is developing reading skills.
  • Learners who tested at the proficiency level at the end of Grade 3 have also improved significantly over the three years. Over half are now at the proficiency level, which is 31% better than the provincial average of 20,4% in the ANA tests. Since only 20,7% of Grade 3 learners were proficient at the end of 2010, current results mean an improvement of 31% over three years.


Western Cape Department of Basic EducationWestern Cape Numeracy & Literacy ProjectWestern Cape126154556 811

READ continues to be the Literacy Service Provider for the Literacy/Numeracy Training Intervention in seven education districts in the Western Cape. Work has been completed in the Overberg Education District, but there are now two clusters of schools in the Cape Winelands Education District.

The project supports the implementation of the Western Cape Education Department’s (WCED) Literacy Strategy and Curriculum Assessment Policy Statements (CAPS), offering teachers a five-day training course on ‘The Balanced Language Approach’ during the June/July school holidays. This is followed by a year of classroom support and afternoon tutorial sessions. The latter focus on reflective processes, sharing good practice, and ‘filling gaps’.

Generally, 250 schools are selected at a time to benefit from a two-year cycle of training and classroom support, provided by READ Educational Trust and Maths Centre on an alternating basis. 

Language teachers from Grades 1 to 6 are the core group targeted, but any other teachers are welcomed at tutorial sessions.

Phase 3 (Cycle 1) schools joined the literacy segment of the project in July 2013 and teachers participated in the five-day training session held during the mid-year holidays. Sustainability is an essential component of the intervention and when schools have completed their one-year cycle with READ, support and input is taken over by WCED officials in the Districts.

Colourful and relevant resources for each classroom have been supplied by the WCED and teachers have also received manuals, methodology handbooks and DVDs to assist with implementation.



Sometimes during the course of a normal day’s work, READ trainers come across things well beyond what would be considered part of their regular duties, yet seem to be par for the course for the teachers and learners in a project. Such an event occurred when Juliet was visiting a classroom in Summerville, Free State. Supporting one of her teachers during a lesson, she looked up at the open door and saw a large snake slithering into the classroom. Not being comfortable with or knowledgeable about snakes, she and the teacher rushed out of the classroom, pulling as many children with them as they could.


Your support is welcome and appreciated. Thank you.

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This