Go­ing an ex­tra mile to im­prove pupils’ lit­er­acy

Love for books is my drive, says the teacher

Pretoria News - - METRO - LIAM NGOB­ENI liam.ngob­[email protected]

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.

OUPA MOKOENA African News Agency (ANA)

MOLO­GADI MATHOSA with some of her col­leagues and learn­ers at Wal­ter Sisulu Pri­mary School in Olieven­hout­bosch. |

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