Promoting Literacy in South Africa's townships

by help2read
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Promoting Literacy in South Africa's townships
Promoting Literacy in South Africa's townships
Promoting Literacy in South Africa's townships
Promoting Literacy in South Africa's townships
Promoting Literacy in South Africa's townships
Promoting Literacy in South Africa's townships
Promoting Literacy in South Africa's townships
Promoting Literacy in South Africa's townships
Promoting Literacy in South Africa's townships
Promoting Literacy in South Africa's townships
Promoting Literacy in South Africa's townships
Promoting Literacy in South Africa's townships
Promoting Literacy in South Africa's townships
Promoting Literacy in South Africa's townships
Promoting Literacy in South Africa's townships
Promoting Literacy in South Africa's townships
Promoting Literacy in South Africa's townships
Promoting Literacy in South Africa's townships
Promoting Literacy in South Africa's townships
Promoting Literacy in South Africa's townships
Promoting Literacy in South Africa's townships
Promoting Literacy in South Africa's townships
Promoting Literacy in South Africa's townships
Promoting Literacy in South Africa's townships
Promoting Literacy in South Africa's townships
Promoting Literacy in South Africa's townships
Promoting Literacy in South Africa's townships
Promoting Literacy in South Africa's townships
Promoting Literacy in South Africa's townships
Promoting Literacy in South Africa's townships
Promoting Literacy in South Africa's townships
One-on-one reading at Diepsloot Primary School
One-on-one reading at Diepsloot Primary School

What an incredible start to the year it has been! Help2read has successfully implemented literacy support programmes in schools in Diepsloot, Alexandra, Khayelitsha, Paarl, Cape Town and the Cape Winelands. The Volunteer Reading Champions programme has been relaunched, with training taking place once a term. There is additional information below on how to sign up as a Help2read volunteer. Recruitment, core-training and placement for the Literacy Tutor programme is complete and we have an exceptional group of young people who have joined the 2021 team. We look forward to the exciting journey we will take this year with the new team. Learner selection has been completed for the children who will be receiving Help2read support this year. Children are supported in individualised one-on-one reading sessions and fun-filled reading clubs. 

Moving up!

A massive congratulations to Mbulelo Ndlovu who is now a Grade R teacher at Sobambisana Primary School.

Mbulelo Ndlovu started his journey with Help2read in 2017 as a Literacy Tutor at Sobambisana Primary School. In his first year he excelled in his role as a tutor. In 2018, after a year of experience working with children, he decided to begin his studies in Early Childhood Education. After another two years of exceptional work, he was promoted to Assistant Literacy Tutor and then Senior Literacy Tutor in 2020. In 2021 Mbulelo finished his ECD level 5, has exited the LT programme and has been employed as the Grade R teacher at Sobambisana Primary School. 

Literacy Tutors attending training sessions
Literacy Tutors attending training sessions
One-on-one reading at Diepsloot Combined School
One-on-one reading at Diepsloot Combined School
The Literacy Tutor programme - Sobambisana Primary
The Literacy Tutor programme - Sobambisana Primary
Reading circle at Sobambisana Primary School
Reading circle at Sobambisana Primary School
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2020 Analysis Report

Community Literacy Tutor Program

Sobambisana Primary School

 

This report covers the period 1 January to 30 November 2020 but focusses specifically on the quantitative outcomes of the internal evaluation of the progress of the 2020 Literacy Tutor cohort and the change in learner scores on the Early Grade Reading Assessment (EGRA), a standardised literacy assessment tool for South African learners.

 

Help2read Impact since Inception

Help2read is an educational English literacy development program that has been in operation since 2006, cumulatively reaching over 24 000 primary school learners in 400 schools with the assistance of thousands of volunteer reading helpers and township youth developed and trained as Literacy Tutors.  The focus is on supporting primary school learners who are not first language English speakers and who come from disadvantaged communities. Help2read supports children learning to read in Grades 2 through 4 so that they can read to learn thereafter. In 2020 the help2read English literacy intervention program was implemented at 32 public primary schools, providing 1 006 learners who have fallen behind with attention from a Volunteer Reading Helper or Literacy Tutor (LT).

Help2read’s response to the COVID-19 Pandemic

Help2read, like any organisation that works in the school space was presented with a great deal of challenges in 2020. School closures in line with the national lockdowns issued by the South African government led to Help2read pivoting our offerings to the schools we work in. There were two major adjustments to the Help2read programme in 2020:

  1. We were only able to conduct a limited number of one-on-one reading sessions. Consistent one-on-one reading is core to the support Help2read offers, findings from 2019 will be compared to the 2020 findings to examine the impact of one-on-one reading support as opposed to group reading support. The 2020 findings are based on a mix of limited one-on-one reading support and group reading support.
  2. The continuous nature of the Help2read intervention was disrupted when schools were closed and access to learners was limited. Reading support was now offered in a physically distanced classroom reading sessions and other group reading sessions such as Reading Clubs and Holiday Clubs.

Impact of the help2read Training and Support: Literacy Tutors

The Western Cape Literacy Tutors (LTs) completed the same two-part questionnaire.

 

Part 1 of the questionnaire focussed on the following Personal Capabilities:

 

  • Awareness of own strengths and weaknesses
  • Receptiveness to learning
  • Drive
  • Confidence
  • Resilience
  • How informed they felt about the job market and career opportunities

 

Part 2 of the questionnaire was directed at the following Employability Skills:

 

  • Verbal communication
  • Written communication
  • Teamwork
  • Problem solving
  • Organisational skills
  • Numeracy

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Mandela Day Wemmershoek 2020
Mandela Day Wemmershoek 2020

The Covid-19 pandemic and national lockdowns have had a considerable impact on the way we work at Help2read resulting in adaptions to the Help2read LT programme that will still have similar outcomes. 

Positive developments 

Dennegeur Primary’s Literacy Programme will start on 1 September 2020.

The month of August held in some new and exciting challenges and adventures. One particular highlight of this month is that from the 1 September the LTs will be going to school, assisting the teachers, helping to implement and ensure learners apply social distancing and reading to the learners. We are hoping that we can start our one-on-one reading sessions with the learners soon.

The LTs are very excited and not sure what to expect, but they are so passionate about making a difference in their community. They can’t wait to read to the learners and share stories. Talking about things that affect them in the community and how the learners must still strive to achieve, to dream and believe in themselves.

“Our team met for the first time since lockdown was implemented on Thursday, August 20th. The venue was amazing and it was good to be on the beachfront. Even though it was just six of us, it was good to get back to basics and get updates on how we are going to proceed as a team in the near future. Moving forward is going to be a challenge, but with The Programme Coordinator, Anrika’s assistance, I’m certain we will land on our feet again at Dennegeur Primary. We just need to focus, work together and practice good social skills and be safe at all times.” - Anthea Sutchant - Senior LT at Denneguer Primary School.

Sobambisana Primary School

This month have been challenging and productive back to back meetings with principal at same time, all of the grades opened and we had a lot of work assigned to us but as a team we have managed to cover all of the work. 

Wemmershoek Primary School

Opening of schools:

The grades R,1,2,3, and 7 are back in school and our tutors assist the school by helping with the screening process in the morning. We are also available if the teachers are preoccupied with other tasks, to help with marking books, photocopying, etc. We also monitor that all safety protocols are followed during bathroom breaks as well as during recess. The principal and teachers are appreciative of our assistance and willingness to help.

Assignments:

The literacy tutors are enjoying the assignments and are always excited about the upcoming assignments. It also helps tutors’ bond and maintains a healthy relationship with one another.

Literacy Tutor Assignment Framework

These assignments were given to our Literacy Tutors during the COVID-19, Pandemic.

The assignments kept our LT teams busy during NATIONAL LOCKDOWN. It allowed them to reflect and to develop themselves virtually.

Assignment Number

Description

1

Work Readiness

  • This assignment was based on what the LTs had learned in and during the 1st term. They have received training and they had to put everything they were taught into work.
  • This allowed them to reflect on their progress.

 

2

Reflection, Goal-Setting, and Action Planning.

 

  • This assignment was based on the LTs plans, giving them time to reflect and refine their future plans.
  • They were asked to set goals they wanted to achieve while being with Help2Read.

 

3

 

Self-awareness and self-management

  • This assignment was on the awareness of their surroundings and their resilience during the pandemic.
  • What they noticed about the changes we were experiencing, what changes their families were experiencing.
  • How they felt about the changes taking place within their communities.
  • The transition of working within a school to now working remotely.

 

4

 

Personal Values

  • This assignment was aimed at the personal beliefs of the LTs.
  • How they were raised/ taught/ and their takes on the different scenarios given.
  • Their responses were recorded.
  • Many of them were brave enough to speak out about the topics covered in the assignment.

5

 

Critical thinking

  • This assignment was aimed at the critical thinking of the LTs and how they would handle difficult scenarios within the schools they were placed at.

 

 

6

 

Creativity and Learning

  • This assignment was all about creative expression.
  • LTs had to create something creative, that will help them identify with what they were experiencing during the pandemic.
  • They were allowed to create a TIK-Tok, video, song, poem, etc.
  • Anything to help them express themselves creatively.

7

Social Innovation Challenge – Preparation Task 1

 

Individual LT tasks became Team tasks from assignment 7.

 

  • Teams were tasked to work out a plan on what with make their team successful and what will make them fail.
  • They had to set boundaries in place for the assignments to follow.
  • Teams had to work on their ethos of engagement. As all of them were working remotely, their scheduling and time management were vital.

8

Social Innovation Challenge – Preparation Task 2

 

  • Teams had to unpack different terms given to them, this allowed them to research to make sense of what the terms provided for them in the assignment meant to them working in a group setting.
  • Teams had to refine what they wanted to achieve from the Social Innovation Challenge.

9

Social Innovation Challenge – Pre-Task 3

Conflict Management and Critical Thinking

  • Teams were given a problem statement, they had to come together to brainstorm the different outcomes of the impact that team conflict can have on the team
  • They had to discuss how they wanted to be treated and what their expectations are when they should have issues arise in their teams.

10

Social Innovation Challenge – Launch Week

  • Teams were tasked to read an article written by the Daily Maverick, where they asked to identify 5 key thoughts on children returning to school after lockdown.
  • Teams Reflection after every part of the assignment is vital.

11

Design Thinking

  • Teams were asked to present their understanding of what Social Innovation & Design Thinking meant to them.
  • They had to create a resource explaining to their peers / LTs at other schools what those terms meant to them and how they have applied their knowledge of the terms.

12

Design Thinking Principles

  • Teams were tasked to create a stakeholder map, identifying the different stakeholders they thought were affected by the challenge statement provided.

13

Themes -Trends-Patterns of Design Thinking

Empathy

  • Teams have to conduct interviews with all the stakeholders they identified in the previous assignment.
  • They need to use the responses they gather from the interviews to identify any themes, trends, or patterns.

 

14

Ideate

  • Teams receive a list of different ways to refine the idea they created.
  • Teams are tasked to create a vision statement, telling us why they think it is important for them to see the assignment through to the very end.

15

Prototype

  • Teams need to create a prototype that they will use to test with their stakeholder group.
  • During this process, they need to create a video and write a 2 pager on why they think they are the best team

16

Creative Writing (Fiction & Entertainment)

  • Based on their book reviews, that they are doing.
  • LTs need to identify the different styles in which the books are written.

17

Reflective Writing

  • Reflecting on the journey as a Lt.
  • LTs need to tell us about how they have experienced the year, how they found the assignments and what we can change going forward.
LT Programme Alexandra, Johannesburg 2020
LT Programme Alexandra, Johannesburg 2020
Temp Checks at schools in the Western Cape
Temp Checks at schools in the Western Cape
Literacy Sessions Alexandra, Johannesburg 2020
Literacy Sessions Alexandra, Johannesburg 2020

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COVID-19 Food Relief
COVID-19 Food Relief

In the first term 2020 the help2read Literacy Tutor programme was implemented at:

  • Wemmershoek Primary School, Wemmershoek, Western Cape
  • Sobambisana Primary School, Khayelitsha, Western Cape
  • Dennegeur Avenue Primary School, Strandfotein, Western Cape
  • Diepsloot 4 Primary School, Diepsloot, Gauteng
  • F C Carter Primary School, Alexandra, Gauteng
  • Ekukhanyisweni Primary School, Alexandra, Gauteng

Our programme coordinators for 2020 are: 

Melody Volmink and Busi Ntimbani

Thus far for 2020 the LT programme has recruited, trained and deployed 70 Tutors at the schools listed above. Each Tutor reads with approximately 15 learners in one-on-one sessions twice a week every week of the school year. In addition to this, the LTs hold reading clubs for all the children in the school to participate in. 

Response to the COVID-19 outbreak

With school closures due to the COVID-19 outbreak, the LTs have not been able to participate in one-on-one reading sessions as these are held at schools. Instead, LTs have been recording virtual reading sessions, participating in food relief measures and distributing educational material. 

Food Relief in response to COVID-19
Food Relief in response to COVID-19
The LT Programme
The LT Programme
The LT programme
The LT programme
The LT programme
The LT programme
Food Relief
Food Relief
Parent Literacy Work Shop
Parent Literacy Work Shop
LT core help2read training
LT core help2read training
Reading Club
Reading Club
Parent Literacy Workshop
Parent Literacy Workshop
World Story Telling Day highlights
World Story Telling Day highlights
LT Core Training
LT Core Training

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Help2read is an educational English literacy development program that has been in operation since 2006, cumulatively reaching over 23 000 primary school learners in 400 schools with the assistance of thousands of volunteer reading helpers and township youth developed and trained as Literacy Tutors.  The focus is on supporting primary school learners who are not first language English speakers and who come from disadvantaged communities. Help2read supports children learning to read in Grades 2 through 4 so that they can read to learn thereafter. In 2019 the help2read English literacy intervention program was implemented at 62 public primary schools, providing 1 816 learners who have fallen behind with one-on-one attention from a Volunteer Reading Helper or Literacy Tutor (LT).

Help2read Impact at Wemmershoek Primary School

 

In 2019, there were 480 learners in total at Wemmershoek Primary School in Grades R- 7. Cumulatively, from February to November:

  • 21 Literacy Tutors (LTs);
  • 210 Grade 2 – 6 learners receiving one-on-one English literacy support (50% of the total number of learners in the school) and
  • 129 Grade R and Grade 1 learners attending the weekly reading clubs (100% of the total number of Grade R and Grade 1 learners in the school)

Impact of the help2read Training and Support: Literacy Tutors

 

Twenty-one LTs (including the Senior and Assistant Senior) were employed on the Program during the year. The Literacy Tutors (LTs) completed the same two-part questionnaire in February and again in November.  At the end of November 12 LTs completed the full year. The 12 matching questionnaires for Wemmershoek Primary were analysed.

 

Part 1 of the questionnaire focussed on the following Personal Capabilities:

 

  • Awareness of own strengths and weaknesses
  • Receptiveness to learning
  • Drive
  • Confidence
  • Resilience
  • How informed they felt about the job market and career opportunities

 

Part 2 of the questionnaire was directed at the following Employability Skills:

 

  • Verbal communication
  • Written communication
  • Teamwork
  • Problem solving
  • Organisational skills
  • Numeracy

 

The Senior LT also rated the LTs on the same questionnaire.  A total of 83% of Literacy Tutors rated themselves higher on self-awareness at the end of the help2read Program than at the start.  A total of 75% of LTs rated themselves as more receptive and informed at the end compared to the start.  The gains made by the LTs is significant except for the confidence levels, resilience and being informed. One of the lower ratings i.e.   ‘Informed’ is an area which help2read will address next year by providing each LT with a file which can be filled over the year with training manuals, information provided by partners, information on career and education opportunities etc.

Exit Interview Questions with Literacy Tutors

 

Literacy Tutors answered the question, ‘How did the internship at Help2read benefit you?’ as follows (spelling and grammar has not been changed:

 

“The internship taught me that age shouldn’t restrict you from reaching your full potential.”

 

“It helped and motivated me to become a teacher.”

 

“It gave me a boost of confidence and helped me reach my potential.”

 

“Helped a lot with building my self-confidence, communication and experience.”

 

“To help me get more self-confidence and the trainings also helped a lot.”

 

“Helped with communication skills, how to have patience and how to work with children.”

 

“Self-confidence, time management and also patience.”

 

“To help me get more self-confidence and helped me realize how good I am.”

 

“Helped me build my self-confidence and meet new people. Respect for all.”

 

“Helped me gain patience and to make a difference in learners' lives.”

 

“I became more confident and I can see things from a different point of view.”

 

“Benefitted me in many good ways but most of all that I want to become a teacher”

 

 

Highlights

 

The results from the questionnaire and placements for 2020 clearly show how the LTs have grown over the time with help2read.  The Literacy Tutors have taken responsibility when working with learners and their peers. Emotional maturity and confidence is a slow process for many, the graduating group have used the opportunity to better themselves and make choices for future careers. The Senior team leader and Assistant Senior LT took the initiative in planning of events at the school and in their community and which has led to Jevine Baartman being promoted to a staff member at help2read.

 

The addition of the partially internally mentored as well as externally facilitated Life Skills course has made an immense difference to the LT Program. Lynne Rhode, a retired professional who had worked for the City of Cape Town as a trainer/facilitator, Life Coach and who had lectured at CPUT worked with this diverse group of young people and understood their situations, advised them and made them think further than where they found themselves. The course took place over almost a term and included mentoring sessions. The course has been much more effective than three day accredited training which was included in previous years.

 

A second highlight for the LTS was the 2019 cohort visiting the Grade 12 classes at Franschhoek High and Groendal Secondary to recruit the LTs for 2020. This has been the first time it has been done and was an opportunity for the 2019 group to showcase the skills they had acquired, but also to bolster their confidence as role models in the community.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Organization Information

help2read

Location: Century City, Western Cape - South Africa
Website:
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Twitter: @help2read
Project Leader:
Nikki Knowler
Mooikloof, Pretoria, Gauteng South Africa
$6,542 raised of $46,875 goal
 
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