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Learning to read in a mother tongue is key to improving SA’s literacy rates

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09.27.2023

Learning to read in a mother tongue is key to improving SA’s literacy rates

The Zenex Foundation and partner organisations have launched a series of African languages storybooks and reading material that can be used to supplement learner curriculums in an effort to improve the South African literacy rate.  

According to the 2021 Progress in International Reading Literacy Study (Pirls) report released in May this year, 81% of Grade 4 learners in South Africa cannot read for meaning in any language, which shows an alarming increase from 78% in 2016. The report also found that it was mostly African language schools that recorded a decline in reading, while English and Afrikaans schools did not. Limpopo, North West, Free State and Mpumalanga performed particularly poorly. 

At the Zenex Foundation’s launch of the new reading material, literacy specialist and senior lecturer Dr Xolisa Guzula, from the University of Cape Town, said: “It saddens me to think that when we think about creating African language materials people say, ‘No, that can’t be done because they don’t have a standard language’. 

Click here to read the full article published in The Daily Maverick.

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Visit www.bua-lit.org.za for details.

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