The project is designed for Rhodes University staff members who are caregivers of children in primary school with the aim to promote literacy development in the home.


Children who enter high school often struggle to understand and engage with the material being taught due to not being able to read for understanding. The programme therefore seeks to promote literacy development in early stages of education, to equip learners with the necessary skills to read to understand and engage well with literature.

A library is set up in the Rhodes University Community Engagement Office where parents come and borrow book bags. Each book bag has 6 books in it and parents can return them after two weeks and exchange for another bad, which contains a different set of books. Parents read to and with their children at home and are also encouraged to join local libraries.

We have collaborated with literacy development experts who present workshops to caregivers on how to encourage their children to become interested in reading for pleasure. The programme recognises that parents and learners already  read magazines and newspapers at home, thus the workshops are aimed at building on this reading culture.

Our community has libraries where caregivers can sign themselves and their children up for membership. These are also recognised as resources and assets that the caregivers can use in helping make the programme a success.

Through the programme there have been caregivers who have recognised the value of literacy development in the home, and have seen the good results translate in their children’s school progress. These caregivers have become literacy activists in their communities, partnering with a local pre-school in Grahamstown where they interact with caregivers from that pre-school around the importance of literacy development and library memberships.

Caregivers attend four workshops a year that cover a range of different topics. The workshops are divided according to the three different academic pre-primary and primary school phases. These are Early Childhood Development (ECD), Foundation Phase (FP), and Intermediate Phase (IP). The book bags that parents borrow from the Rhodes University Community Engagement library are also divided according to these phases.

The ECD bags consist of four isiXhosa books and two English books. The FP bags consist of three isiXhosa books and three English books. The IP bags consist of four English and four IsiXhosa books.

Caregivers reflect on how they implement their learning in the home, and how this translates to their children’s results. They are also required to submit their children’s progress school reports at the end of each quarter, which are used to measure impact

Last Modified: Thu, 17 Oct 2019 12:26:14 SAST