Early Literacy

We use the latest research-based early learning programmes and resources in our work.

In primary schools, we train foundation phase teachers to set up and manage classroom libraries and improve reading and writing.

In ECD centres, we build practitioners knowledge and skills to include early literacy activities in their daily programmes and distribute early learning resources and storybooks. 

We enable parents and caregivers to use everyday opportunities to enrich their young children’s language and help them to develop pre-literacy skills at home. 

Parent workshops

We believe that parents have a critical role to play in their children’s early literacy development, starting from birth, so that children are ready for learning when they start school. We run workshops with parents at the primary schools and ECD centres where we work, to share ways that they can support their children informally to read and draw, and to develop language.

We use Wordworks’ Every Word Counts early literacy programme in our work.  Various funders donate Book Dash books to support our early literacy work.  This year we received:

· 30 000 storybooks from the Solon Foundation to distribute to Foundation Phase learners and parents through our Classroom Libraries project, and to children in ECD centres

· 6500 storybooks from the Do More Foundation for ECD centres and for children to take home

· 888 storybooks from NECDA for parents to take home for their children 

Book Dash’s overarching vision is that “Every child should own a hundred books by the age of five”, and their contextually relevant, locally produced beautiful little books are gratefully received by families who are eager to support their children’s learning.

ECD practitioner training

From May to July 2022 we participated in the NECDA KZN Disaster Relief project following a year of devastation in the province caused by unrest, floods and the effects of the COVID pandemic. We trained 139 ECD practitioners in NECDA’s 5 Steps to Self-care programme – an innovative mental health and wellness module and the Do More Foundation’s Repurpose for Purpose programme. 

We are training 55 practitioners in the Wordworks’ Every Word Counts programme (3 to 5 years) to build language, early learning and pre-literacy skills. We find that children typically do not have regular time for stories and reading in their ECD Centres, they have almost no books, and if the centres do have books, they are often kept out of reach or in the principal’s office. We are helping to change this by deepening practitioners’ understanding of the value of story time to build children’s vocabulary and comprehension.

Classroom libraries

From July to December 2021 we participated in a Classroom Libraries research project with sites in four districts in KwaZulu-Natal. Wits University designed the research, which was funded by VVOB and managed by CASME.

 Lulamaphiko was responsible for the Zululand district where we set up and supported Foundation Phase classroom libraries in 26 primary schools and did assessments in 52 primary schools in Zululand and uMkhanyakude districts. The research set out to ascertain whether foundation phase children would take Zulu books home to read if their teacher was trained and mentored to manage a classroom library. The project was a great success, and the results were published in 2022 (view report) and Prof Brahm Fleisch who led the research will present the findings at the LITASA 2022 conference.

The Solon Foundation provided funding for us to continue to support our Classroom Libraries Project in uPhongolo and uMhlabuyalingana municipalities in 2022. We are mentoring teachers in 30 primary schools, and have included Grade R classroom sessions and parent workshops. We will present our work at the LITASA 2022 conference.