Bridget McNulty
Bridget McNulty

Literacy for all

There are a lot of people who talk the talk about making a difference so it’s always such a treat to find groups who walk the walk too.

I’ve been on the lookout for an inspiring cause to support and last week I stumbled on the perfect one (for me, with my love of books and reading). It’s called Literacy for All and you’ll find it here.
It’s based on a terrifying 2005 department of education statistic that 61% of South African children could not read by the end of Grade 3. Literacy for All is trying to change that. In their own words:

“The Literacy for All programme not only puts accessible and attractive books into children’s hands, it has been developed by teachers and linguists to promote mother-tongue learning and provides preparatory training and ongoing support to teachers. The readers are also suitable for second and third-language learning.”

“The Literacy for All Readers is not just ‘a good idea’ or a collection of books. It is a complete programme in each of our official languages backed by a teacher’s guide, learners’ workbooks, a training workshop titled ‘How to Teach Reading'” and continuing support for teachers.

Best of all they are easy to support. With a donation of as little as R200 you can buy a set of 6 books for Grade 3 students. The set of 8 books for Grade 2 students costs R250 and the set of 14 books for Grade 1 students costs R375. Two students share one set of books and with care the books can last a couple of years. They also need donations to provide essential teacher training so that the project is sustainable — get in touch with them by visiting their website if you’re interested.

I spoke to one of their spokespeople last week (they get back to you pretty quickly if you email them) and he said they’re based in the Western Cape but hope to expand this year.

There are a number of things I love about this project — it’s teaching kids to read, of course, because I really believe that reading, despite obviously helping us communicate better, also opens up doorways into a world of imagination. But also that it promotes mother-tongue learning while also using English books to provide a solid English base from a young age.

And they’re doing something instead of just sitting around whining about how dreadful things are in South Africa.