Social Investment Helping little ones improve their literacy one hour at a time

Helping little ones improve their literacy one hour at a time

Shine Chapters are social franchises that deliver the Shine Literacy Hour model. Picture: Facebook

A Johannesburg primary school has introduced a transformative literacy programme that will give its little ones an important boost when it comes to developing reading, writing and language skills.

With an overwhelming 96.3% of grade 1s at Chivirikani Primary in Katlehong requiring reading and writing support, the Shine Literacy Chapter was launched at the school in partnership with Dare to Care in mid-February.

Marilize Grove, chapter manager from Shine Literacy, says there are 1,176 volunteers who deliver Shine Literacy programmes to 7,309 children in 77 schools across four provinces.

Since 2007, Shine Literacy has supported 17,000 children, she says. 

The non-profit organisation was founded in 2000 to tackle unacceptably low literacy rates in the junior grades, especially among low-income communities in SA. 

The aim is to help children engage effectively with learning by the time they finish the foundation phase.

South Africa ranked last out of 50 countries in the 2016 Progress in International Reading Literacy Study (PIRLS) study. The study, which tested reading comprehension of pupils in their fourth year of primary school, found 78% of South African pupils at this level could not read for meaning.

All grade 1s at Chivirikani underwent an early literacy assessment and pupils who were at risk or below the required level were chosen to participate in the Shine programme. 

Letter knowledge, ability to write a sentence from dictation, read a list of words and write a story from two picture cues formed part of the assessment.

The school’s leadership welcomed the Shine Literacy Hour to improve pupils’ literacy and believes it will have a positive impact on the community. The Shine Literacy Hour is a carefully structured session divided into four parts which include paired reading, shared reading, have-a-go writing and world play (games).

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