Skills development program – English

The vision of Soul Action’s Skills Development Program is to empower children to reach their full potential by learning to read, write and communicate effectively. Soul Action’s vision is achieved by providing relevant skills development for Grade 2 and Grade 3 educators whose first language is isiZulu, to enable them to teach phonics effectively.

The Department of Basic Education (2011, p.17) states that since the, “Apartheid legacy will remain present for many years to come…it will continue to be necessary to address these legacy problems directly in the design of in-service training and in the way training programmes are targeted towards teachers.” Therefore the skills development program for teachers consists of termly workshops, in conjunction with support visits. Workshops are facilitated at the start of each term, the following topics are covered:

  • phonological awareness
  • learning styles and how to facilitate multi-sensory activities
  • pronunciation of sounds, blends and digraphs
  • how to support children to develop reading and spelling skills
  • structure of a lesson
  • assessment
  • peer mentoring
  • what is meant by, and how to facilitate shared reading

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Throughout each term a teacher receives three support visits from an experienced member of staff.  This provides the assistance necessary to apply what has been learnt in the workshop to the classroom context.

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Teaching methods

A relevant phonics curriculum and multi-sensory resources to go alongside the curriculum have been developed catering for visual, auditory and kinaesthetic learners.

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During the first year of the programme the children develop knowledge of sounds and blends. In the second year of the program children develop knowledge of digraphs and split vowel digraphs. Children are taught skills to apply this knowledge to the reading and spelling of words. This adheres to the approach outlined in the Curriculum and Assessment Policy Statement (2011). Through shared reading and the use of big books the children are given opportunities to apply the knowledge and skills they have developed to the reading of a book. The children are able to develop a love for reading through the use of these texts.

Monitoring and evaluation

As part of the program the children are formally assessed three times a year. Monitoring the progress of the children is crucial as it informs future planning. The success of the children is celebrated and areas where reinforcement and extra teaching are necessary are identified.

The achievements of the children have been exciting and encouraging; Principals and staff are extremely pleased with the progress their children have made. From the assessments it is evident that the children develop the knowledge and skills necessary to be able to read and write phonetically.


During 2014 we worked alongside seventeen Grade 2 educators from six schools in one community which enabled 750 children to benefit from the program. Please click here to read 2014’s Evaluation Report.

During 2015 we worked alongside fourteen Grade 3 educators from six schools in one community which enabled a further 750 children to benefit from the program. Please click here to read 2015’s Evaluation Report.

All the educators that Soul Action had the privilege of training during 2014 and 2015 developed the skills to teach phonics effectively. Thus learners continue to benefit and develop the phonic skills necessary to read and write.

Department of Basic Education (2011) Action Plan to 2014, Pretoria