Books are fundamental to ensuring that reading takes place, and more importantly that children enjoy reading and learn to read for meaning. Having access to a variety of books positively impacts upon primary school learners and their ability to read, especially those learners in the Foundation Phase. Reading is fundamental in developing the mind and the imagination, improving written and oral communication by improving vocabulary and most importantly, it is the basis for all learning. The access to quality reading materials which suit all learners reading levels can greatly influence the learner’s academic abilities, with prolonged effects.
With this in mind and the fact that many of the schools we work in are under-resourced in the way of reading books, we embarked on a Reading Corners Project. Northwood Primary and Woodville Primary Schools in Mitchells Plain in the Western Cape were identified as the two schools to be part of the project. Independent reading was not taking place in these schools due to the scarcity of resources and not having levelled books in the classrooms.
With generous donations from Tsogo Sun and Corevest we were able to invest in nine Reading Corners in each school and then officially hand out these reading boxes to some very excited learners. Each school received 450 books!
Upon receiving the books, the teachers were overjoyed as they understand the impact they will have on their learners. The children were also delighted and intrigued by the books, inquisitively gathering around closely and waiting patiently to choose their own book to immerse themselves in. The feedback from the teachers speaks for itself. “The books are very enriching. It is helping to increase my learner’s vocabulary.” - Ms Crouse, Grade 2 teacher from Woodvillle. They also have systems in place whereby one learner is responsible for fetching and returning the box to the office daily, further instilling routine and discipline. Ms Lottering, a Grade 1 Afrikaans teacher from Woodville Primary commented “Dit is ‘n fantiese wereld wat vir hulle oopgemaak is.” And Grade R teacher, Ms van der Fort added “The children are very excited to know what the new story will be for story time. They look forward to the end of the day to discover which book will be chosen.”
At Northwood Primary, Ms Haywood said “It is a great resource and easy to manage in little hands where fine motor skills are still being developed.” A proud Ms Bam in Grade R said “There is pure excitement from myself and my learners. The kids love going to the box and are diligently washing their hands first. We are deriving lots of joy from the stories. It is a brilliant investment.” And Ms Johannes in Grade 3 even commented that “The learners found a new love for reading. They want to remain after school to read more books.”
These books were carefully selected to suit the reading level of all learners and to promote a culture of reading among the learners, as well as the school as a whole. The schools are assisted by their Edupeg mentor, Karin Stevens, to provide guidance to the teachers and ensure that the reading corners are functional and integrated to daily teachings and not just there for decoration.
This project was a first of its kind for us at Edupeg and we had many partners who made it all happen. Many thanks to Joy from JH Books for helping us select these wonderful reading books, to Avis for their support in covering these books on Mandela Day and to our donors TsogoSun and Corevest. Many thanks to Mr Jones and Mr Riddles, the principals of these schools for hosting us. We hope that these books instil a love of reading at your schools!
There are many more classrooms needing reading corners. Click here if you would like to support us in in providing more books to more classrooms and learners.