WCED launches new reading strategy
This weekend, the Western Cape Education Department launched the Western Cape Reading Strategy.
This strategy has been carefully developed following months of consultations with key interest groups in education. The strategy aims to ensure that every child can read by the age of 10 years old.
The Progress in International Reading Literacy Study (PIRLS) 2016 Grade 4 results reveal that that South Africa faces many challenges when developing reading literacy at Grade 4 level.
Nationally, 78% of learners cannot read for meaning by the age of 10.
Although the Western Cape Province performed the best nationally, the data shows that 55% of learners cannot read for meaning by the age of 10.
While the WCED has improved its reading levels over the years and is driving various interventions through its language policy, this new strategy hopes to elevate reading as a priority.
The strategy has six key pillars which will be driven in collaboration with carious roleplayers across the province.
The pillars include the following:
- Learner support through different intervention strategies.
- To ensure that all learners have the necessary support to ensure optimal learning – whether it be multilevel teaching, cooperative learning or differentiated learning – focusing on ALL learners from our gifted learners, to those that have special needs – adapting to their learning styles and pace.
- Provision of Learning and Teaching Support Material to strengthen teaching practices.
- To ensure that our learners and teachers have the relevant support materials from graded readers to audio visual aids – these should accommodate various reading levels.
- Teacher Professional Development to ensure quality teaching.
- Ensuring that our teachers have opportunities for professional development and growth – training must be needs driven and accessible.
- Research to ensure that the right strategies are used.
- To ensure that all interventions are based on thorough research and new interventions are monitored to determine impact.
- Advocacy through different mediums to ensure mass-mobilization.
- To ensure that schools advocate the importance of reading through various initiatives and that we also advocate this message to all citizens of the Western Cape.
- Parental/Community involvement to ensure all stakeholders are involved and fulfilling their role.
- To ensure that parents understand their role in improving the reading skills of their children. We need parents to understand why it is important that they promote reading as a daily activity. They also need to be empowered so that they can adequately assess their child’s reading levels and support them in improving their reading and writing skills.
The strategy was launched by the WCED in collaboration with the “Coalition for Quality Education in the Western Cape.” The coalition is a collaborative association for all education stakeholders (including government, private business, NPO's, civil society and funders).
Head of Department, Brian Schreuder said, “We have done good work in developing reading for meaning over the last few years, but this renewed Strategy has two key focus areas:
- What we as teachers and learners must do better to improve reading literacy, and;
- For the first time here is a Whole of Society movement that will garner everyone’s help in improving reading.
I’m really excited about the total buy-in from all roleplayers and am confident that we will, if we sustain this strategy for the next five years, dramatically improve reading levels in the Western Cape.”
Details on a new reading campaign that will advocate the six pillars of the reading strategy will be announced soon.
For comment from the coalition, please contact: Lorraine Hadfield 076 306 9191
Please see attached summary document of the Reading Strategy.
Please whatsapp me for a soundbite: 072 7241422