8 out of 10 Grade 4 learners cannot read for meaning and this NPO is trying to help

Inadequate teacher instruction, general lack of reading culture and a severe shortage of libraries in schools are a few of the reasons the Molteno Institute for Language and Literacy believe to be behind SA’s poor placement (last out of 50 countries) in the most recent Progress in International Reading Literacy Study (PIRLS)

The study showed that 8 out of 10 Grade 4 learners cannot read for meaning in any language, a finding made that much worse when considering the level of poverty, unemployment and the long list of other social burdens carried by our country’s youth.   

In order to address this reading crisis, the local NPO has made mobile libraries available to schools and community centres in cities, towns and villages across South Africa. 

Also see: Why so many South African children struggle to read and write

What's your opinion on the reading crisis in South Africa? Share your comments with us and we could publish your email. 

“The mobile library units offer a practical, sustainable, timeous and cost-effective alternative to traditional libraries,” says Molteno CEO, Masennya Dikotla. 

“They are well-stocked, providing a variety of English and African language books for children in all primary school grades (Grades 1 to 7) - from storybooks, novels, readers and biographies right through to dictionaries and encyclopedias,” explains Masennya, who believes that, “Books in the mother tongue are essential, especially for the early stage development of children’s reading ability.” 

By supplying schools with these libraries on wheels, Molteno aims to assist teachers and parents with instilling a love for books in their children and ultimately hopes to make books more accessible. 

“The mobile libraries improve children’s access to books, giving them greater opportunity to practice their reading skills while enabling them to learn more about the world around them,” explains Masennya. “This helps to improve their self-confidence and school performance. By making a range of reading material available through these library units, we aim to encourage a love of books and reading among children. " 

Visit www.molteno.co.za to find out more about how you can support the NPO. 

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