NGO the Molteno Institute for Language and Literacy is planning to deliver mobile libraries to schools to encourage reading. Supplied
Cape Town - Hoping to improve the literacy levels of primary school pupils, an NGO hopes that mobile libraries will encourage reading.

The Molteno Institute for Language and Literacy aims to deliver mobile libraries to schools nationally.

A Progress in International Reading Literacy Study conducted in 2016 found that the majority of South African pupils (78%) cannot read with understanding until the end of Grade 4. The study also revealed that there was no significant progress nationally since the last report in 2011, in the overall average score.

Molteno Institute for Language and Literacy’s chief executive, Masennya Dikotla, said many children relied on their teachers at schools to teach them literacy because parents were unable to read, especially in rural areas across South Africa.

“Not all teachers were trained to teach early literacy, and early literacy is very important for the beginning years of learning. The teachers must play a role of reading fluently because children will follow them.”

Western Cape Education Department spokesperson Bronagh Hammond Hammond said the Western Cape had improved significantly with respect to reading at Grade 6 level, scoring 72.2% compared to 36.1% nationally. The second best-performing province was Gauteng with 54%, according to the The Southern and Eastern Africa Consortium for Monitoring Educational Quality.

“Parental support is extremely important. Not enough parents are reading to their children or encouraging reading at home.” Dikotla said the high level of illiteracy was caused by inadequate teacher instruction, the lack of a reading culture and a severe shortage of libraries at schools.

Only 10% of South African schools have functioning libraries. “We have delivered mobile libraries to five provinces so far and we hope to negotiate with corporate companies in the Western Cape to come on board.”

The mobile library is made up of an average of 300 books. Each mobile library costs R35000. 

Corporates, foundations and individuals that want to get involved can e-mail: [email protected]

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Cape Argus