In 2015, Biblionef undertook a strategic rethink process and concluded that only donating books to schools did not guarantee that it would be used optimally to benefit the children. This resulted in Biblionef carrying out a pilot project to determine what effect Biblionef’s book donations would have on children and teachers when training in the use of books is provided.
With funding for books and training provided by the D.G. Murray Trust, Biblionef was able to commission the services of literacy specialist, Marlene Rousseau, to carry out a 2-year long pilot project with foundation phase teachers at 10 Primary Schools in Beaufort West, Western Cape. A mixed impact study of this project was also conducted by Ms Rousseau which was funded by the SALI Trust. The D.G. Murray Trust has put together a *learning brief which contains an overview of our project and the findings from the mixed impact study. To read more about the pilot project in the learning brief, click here.
This project has been instrumental in shaping our future projects. South Africa’s literacy crisis is extremely alarming and strong literacy interventions are needed to overcome it. Partnerships are one of the most important elements for combatting the literacy crisis. We have recognized that we have a unique range of quality resources and that through partnerships, we will be able to achieve a shared social impact whereby schools will receive books from Biblionef and their foundation phase teachers will receive training on how to use the books from the partner organisation/ literacy specialist. It is important for teachers to recognize that they are one of the most important factors in instilling a culture of reading amongst their learners. Furthermore, the CAPS curriculum makes provision for storytelling to be done on a regular basis, but our experience has shown us that teachers require guidance on how this can be done. Our training, which is carried out through partnerships, assists in making storytelling more prevalent in the classroom, provides practical examples of how teachers can incorporate reading into their daily classwork activities and encourages interaction between learners and teachers during storytime.
We are extremely excited to begin working with other literacy and training organisations as well as literacy specialists to improve our country’s current literacy crisis. The results yielded from our pilot project highlights the importance of organisations working together to achieve a common goal.
*DGMT created the Hands-on Learning publication in the hope of playing a helpful role in synthesising information from innovators and implementers in civil society by supporting them to share what they have learned so that others are able to draw from and build on their experiences. To view Issue 13, which includes Biblionef’s pilot project review and two other briefs, click here.