You can learn during holidays

Alex children attend the help2read programme during school holidays. Photo: Supplied


Schools around the country may be closed for the winter holidays but reading has no holiday for children in Alexandra.

South African literacy organisation help2read is hosting holiday reading clubs and the children in Alexandra just love them.

Help2read is helping youth creatively engage with the world of work while also providing critical literacy infrastructure and services to their communities.

By establishing safe, educational and recreational holiday reading clubs, help2read hopes to build essential community services supporting working parents while expanding the opportunities to learn and have fun for young primary school children.

“We were delighted to see how popular the idea was when on 3 July, 14 literacy tutors in Alexandra hosted the first two Holiday Reading Clubs at Ekukhanyisweni and Iphuteng primary schools, with more than 150 pupils from Grade 1 to Grade 6 attending the first day of the week’s long programme,” said Mandy Trevor, operations director at help2read.

The tutors assist children by providing dedicated one-on-one reading help and literacy skills during term breaks, and games, songs, play acting stories and collective reading of books go a long way to improve skills of comprehension and vocabulary.

While illiteracy remains a major concern among primary schoolchildren in South Africa, recent research indicates that 58 per cent of Grade 4 pupils in South Africa cannot read for meaning, while 29 per cent are completely illiterate.

According to the research, being unable to read hinders children from learning, and as a result they fall further and further behind at school. In under-resourced and overcrowded schools most especially, teachers are unable to provide the individual attention that struggling readers need to master basic literacy concepts and become confident fluent readers.

At the same time, research shows that of the many obstacles facing South Africa’s young people, unemployment and unemployability are their biggest challenges.

According to Statistics South Africa, youth aged 15 to 34 make up the bulk of the unemployed in South Africa. Two-thirds of youth do not have jobs, despite being willing, able and actively seeking employment.

The programme trains unemployed youth to provide primary school pupils with one-on-one reading help and literacy support in township schools.

It also supports parents by providing safe, recreational and educational spaces for their children and keeps them out of the streets and away from mischief.

Details: Mandy Trevor 079 615 1633; [email protected]

Read: Books that should be on your reading list this winter

Are the Holiday Reading Clubs effective in helping children to become literate? Post your views on the Alex News Facebook page

Sipho Siso

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