Education minister, MEC launch KZN Reading Strategy programme
Durban - Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga and MEC for Education in KwaZulu-Natal Kwazi Mshengu have officially launched the KZN Reading Strategy in Ithongasi Primary School.
The launch aims to build on the existing national reading ecosystem and provides for province-specific plans and innovations.
Speaking during the launch, Motshekga congratulated the province, adding that this takes the issue of reading across the curriculum, in all grades and it all schools, to the next level.
She said the department's National Reading Strategy is grounded on addressing both the root causes and what researchers call peripherals.
"To us, there are no peripherals, as there’s a piece of strong research evidence to suggest that parents’ involvement in children’s literacy is highly beneficial. As we understand it, the foundation of any quality basic education is predicated on reading; reading for meaning as well as reading with comprehension," she said.
She said reading for meaning, according to researchers, is a reseached-based strategy that helps all readers build the skills that proficient readers use to make sense of challenging texts.
Motshekga said regular use of the reading for meaning strategy allows learners to practice and master the three phases of critical reading that lead to success.
"These are previewing and predicting before reading, actively searching for relevant information during reading and reflecting on learning after reading," she explained.
The minister said the second thing needed is for all pupils to read with comprehension which according to research is understanding and interpreting what is read.
The idea, for the MEC Mshengu’s lead Reading Strategy, is to undo the traditional oratorical reading approach used in the past in favour of reading for meaning as well as reading with comprehension.
The provincial Strategy further calls for a paradigm shift in assessment practices because research shows that currently, oral marks are allocated based on oral reading performance.
In contrast, marks ought to be allocated not based on reading fluency but reading for meaning as well as reading with comprehension.
Programme Director; as explained earlier, the Reading Strategy we are launching today is not a standalone, but part of the national reading ecosystem.
For instance, this province is light ahead of others in embedding the national reading strategy within the local education system.
The KwaZulu-Natal province already has an integrated package and professional support for teachers.
All Foundation Phase teachers in this province have been provided with lesson plans, CAPS Planners and Trackers, graded readers, posters and relevant books in both Zulu (First Language) and English (First Additional Language).
Furthermore, all mathematics teachers have also been favoured with lesson plans and CAPS Planners and Trackers as part of improving literacy as well as numeracy as a combo.
Quite correctly, the KZN implementation of the national reading strategy stresses the acquisition of reading, first, in isiZulu as the first language.
The provincial plan provides a structured programme in phonics as well as structured opportunities to read for meaning, with appropriate text, in both isiZulu and English First Additional Language.
"We must socialise our pupils into becoming life-long readers. We must support them in reading for academic purposes and for knowledge and for enjoyment," Motshekga said.