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Literacy Blog

The magic and power of stories and play

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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...

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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

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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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Our Story, Your Story: Finding meaning

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Lisa Cohen is a storyteller, facilitator, children’s story author, programme developer, early childhood development advocate and creativity sparker. She is currently the Portfolio Manager of Parenting Programmes at Ilifa Labantwana and Programme Manager for the Our Story Your Story Project with Clowns Without Borders South Africa. Lisa speaks about her own journey with stories and its personal and political meaning: Story-time with my dad was my...
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Mark my words: Literacy through culture

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When we speak or write to each other in the same language, it’s easy to assume that we share the same understandings. Yet we also know that it’s quite possible to ‘miss’ one another – both as we speak, and when we read what someone else has written. In face-to-face communication, because we are there on the spot, we have a relatively good chance...
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