Teachers and parents have a huge role to play towards the solution of South Africa’s reading problems.
The statement was made by an expert following a concerning study released by researchers from the University of Pretoria on Tuesday which found that about 80% of South African Grade 4 pupils fall below the lowest internationally recognised level of reading in their language of learning.
Professor Sarah Howie reportedly said more needed to be done to support the development of teacher skills and teaching practices during educators’ initial training as well as once they were in the classroom.
Howie said this would ensure that teachers were well trained and supported to teach the formative grades, which are Grade 1, 2 and 3.
Howie has also emphasised the importance of the involvement of parents, especially in pupils’ early stages of development.
Howie said parents needed to spend time on early literacy activities with their children before school and read for and with them. She said it was also important for parents to ensure that children were present at school as the absenteeism rates are high in South Africa, compared to other countries.
According to the study, pupils from the Free State, Western Cape and Gauteng perform better than other pupils in other countries.
Reports show that the Department of Basic Education welcomed the findings and realises that the country needs to look deeper and address issues pupils are struggling with.