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Literacy Blog

A simple reading plan shows the way

Posted on
December, 5th 2012
Recently I visited Pratham, a large non-profit organisation that promotes reading across India. I was intrigued by their claim that they could get young children to learn to read within six weeks and that they could help those lagging behind to catch up. If we could do the same, I thought, we could begin to overcome one of the biggest challenges to education in South Africa –...
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Great stories to help our country grow

Posted on
December, 4th 2012
One of my favourite storybook characters as a child was Mrs Tiggywinkle from The Tale of Mrs Tiggywinkle by Beatrix Potter. She was a hedgehog who miraculously reinvented herself daily – without ever compromising her true identity – into an industrious entrepreneur who ran a laundry service! There she was bustling across the rolling green hills of the English countryside, a world that for me...
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The magic and power of stories and play

Posted on
December, 4th 2012
I remember ‘pretend’ play as a child. Sometimes alone, murmuring quietly to myself in a story, slipping through characters and time, being whoever I wanted to be and making things happen in ways that were larger and brighter than life. Or with my sister, moving in an enchanted space where I’d be the princess and she, being the youngest, would have to jump at...
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An alternative approach to literacy learning

Posted on
December, 4th 2012
Illiteracy in South Africa is a grave problem and we’ve tended to approach it with the solemnity it deserves. Each year, we hold up the grim results of the national assessment of literacy in schools and design serious plans to improve them. We stack the curriculum primly with words and phonics, all in the correct order and printed on worksheets. All well and good, but where...
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Promoting multiculturalism through stories

Posted on
December, 4th 2012
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, minorities represent almost one half of America’s population under the age of 5. This statistic portends a more ethnically diverse America, with new and growing populations playing more significant economic, social and political roles. Perhaps it’s no surprise that kindergarten and elementary school teachers today recognize the importance of teaching a curriculum that reflects this multicultural and multiracial world. Culturally responsive teaching means...
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Start a storytelling tradition at home

Posted on
December, 4th 2012
After publishing my first book on family storytelling and parenting over a year ago, many friends and readers have asked me, especially around Father’s Day, to offer my advice to new dads. My first reaction is, “I wouldn’t presume,” because as the father of two boys—ages 14 and 11—I’m still learning the ropes myself. So I’ll refrain from offering any advice. But what I will do is...
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Harnessing the potential of social networking for literacy development

Posted on
December, 4th 2012
Reading with comprehension is a human right which doesn’t happen for most South Africans. Is this blanket statement really true or are we ignoring the fact that significant numbers of people are reading in a different form of language than is expected of them – particularly the younger generation criticised for writing CVs and matric exams in so-called txt-tese, SMS language or chat speak? Are...
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The retelling of the classics

Posted on
December, 4th 2012
In the May issue of FAIRLADY we featured a great article entitled ‘Good books bad feelings’ that posed the question whether you should read scary or sad books to your children. Now we take the questions a bit further. Should children’s books also have a distinct African flavour? What if Snow White was living with seven dwarfs somewhere in the Lesotho Mountains and what if...
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Redang is intrasting...

Posted on
December, 4th 2012
redeng is intrasting it hulps  you to lorn.  I stortd with go, dog, go, and then I cared on with mor hoda books, now I take books owt of the libery  wich  mens you or a good reda.  my hol Lif my  mom  has  ben reding to me evan  sans I wos  1. I lict The owl and The poose cat. my mom hato ryd it...
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How I discovered the joy of reading

Posted on
November, 19th 2012
I wasn’t always a fan of reading.  I only did it because it pleased my aunt and because I had to do it for book reviews. But, even in Grades Six and Seven, when doing book reviews became frequent, my actual reading of them (books), didn’t. I would read the blurb of the book and the last 100 pages so that I could piece...
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