Going an extra mile to improve pupils’ literacy
Love for books is my drive, says the teacher
THE country’s low levels of literacy motivated Olievenhoutbosch teacher to make it her mission to improve the culture of reading.
Mologadi Mathosa had been working with primary school pupils on Saturdays in a bid to improve their reading and vocabulary, among others.Her efforts earned her second place in this year’s Lesedi Awards. The awards recognise different individuals and organisations that are making a difference in society through their philanthropy work or simply giving their time to a cause.
Mathosa, InspireZA co-founder, told the Pretoria News that the inception of the reading programme was prompted by the low levels of literacy which hit about 80% in 2017.
She said she had noted low literacy was a hindrance to the understanding of other subjects such as maths and physics for pupils. “My vision was to start at the grassroots with the children, ignite the love to read and explore from an early age, to help them identify their strengths early because by the time they get to high school, it’s already late. That is why we are focused on primary schoolchildren. Some of our members are in high school and they started back in primary school.”
She said reading helps pupils open their minds and gives them a choice in what they would love to be and improves their command and use of language.
“We have seen their vocabulary improve drastically over the months. Some struggle but the confidence builds with each book they read.”
Mathosa said there were lots of challenges in making the culture of reading stick, especially in townships as most children came to the programme hungry and would not concentrate.
However, that had since improved as partnerships allowed for food donations for breakfast.
Another challenge was that parents did not read; the reading culture in homes was non-existent, she said.
Mathosa said they were planning to establish an adult book club and encourage them to join in, rather than sitting and watching TV. “There is also low use of libraries and there are libraries almost everywhere. Some of us did not have this growing up and we are encouraging them (people) to start using these facilities, read on different topics.”
She said that while there were challenges, she believed in “shining a light in your own corner”.
“Start where you are with what you have; do not go far and beyond. My love for books is my drive and exposing the children to knowledge that can further them.”
She said the vision for InspireZA was to let it run itself – have people involved; let the seed grow and continue making a difference.
One of pupils in the programme, 13-year-old Grade 8 learner Kgodisho Moila, said he had grown fond of reading. “My marks have also improved and I plan to come back next year for the programme,” he said.
MOLOGADI MATHOSA with some of her colleagues and learners at Walter Sisulu Primary School in Olievenhoutbosch. |