September 2011


September saw the end of the third term within schools in South Africa. Towards the end of the term all of the 800 children who currently benefit from the phonics teaching were assessed on an individual basis. It was really exciting to see how a small group of Grade 2 children, from a school in Amaoti, had developed skills to read words. When formally assessed in June it was noted how one particular group of 14 children knew their letter sounds and blends but were struggling to use this knowledge to blend to read words. As a result we decided to put a short term intervention in place with the aim of supporting the children in developing blending skills. Two education tutors (Gugu and Kholiswa) have worked with this small group of children for 20 minutes, four days a week during August and September. The skills the children have developed to read words are amazing. The children are now able to blend to read simple words. The transformation and development in confidence in reading is incredible to see. This group of children will work within the larger class context during the fourth term. Gugu and Kholiswa will focus on working with a different group of children who are struggling in a specific area. You may remember how in last month’s update we shared about the changes within South Africa – that from 2012, English will be introduced into Zulu schools in Grade 1 as an additional language and will be taught as well as the home language. During September Rachel met with a Principal from one of the schools the team work alongside in Amaoti to discuss how together we can support the Grade 1 children and teachers. We decided to start working with the Grade 1s at this particular school in October, to introduce the children to the English language and letter sounds .

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Interesting whole group discussion on the best way to start the copy for a series of posters on how we can be kind and help everyone stay healthy