The ‘Invisible’ Pathways to Literacy

Despite governments efforts to increase access to Grade R education, little has been done to improve the quality. South Africa has a known literacy crisis.

Children entering Grade 4 begin to learn content, based on the assumption that in the previous 3 years of school they have mastered reading for meaning. This is not the case in South Africa, where 78% of children in Makhanda cannot read for mean before Grade 4. This puts children on a constant ‘back foot’ for their school career, often leading to academically not coping.



BuddingQ was designed to address this literacy crisis in a play-based manner, where it most matters…in Grade R, while pre-literacy skills are being developed. Volunteers are trained by fellow students who have taken the Community Psychology Elective in their Honours year. Through 15 session in the year, they engage with children to develop their fine and gross motor skills with the aim of improving the foundations required for formal literacy education when they enter Grade 1.

BuddingQ has been running in this format since 2019. 2020 showed significant growth with several groups approaching RUCE to use the methodology in their own partnerships. Below are some numbers to depict our growth and success:

  • 6 schools (partnered with RUCE), 6 additional schools partnered with other schools, NGOs and university departments.
  • 120 volunteers (RUCE students), 100 additional volunteers
  • 14 Grade R teachers supported through the programme
  • 300 children reached weekly through RUCE engagements of BuddingQ, approximately 115 additional children engaged regularly using BuddingQ methodology.
  • 1 ongoing research project
  • 200 children assessed
  • 12 Honours students involved as Community Psychology Service Learning elective
  • 2019 showed significant improvement (20% or more) in most gross motor development milestones.



Applications to join BuddingQ in 2023 are now open until 20 February.


BuddingQ Resources


 For more information, please contact the programme coordinator:

 Anna Talbot -

Last Modified: Tue, 14 Feb 2023 19:19:46 SAST