The National Reading Coalition was launched in February 2019 and attended by over 400 participants from across the country in a show of support to address as a nation the challenge of low levels of literacy as highlighted in the 2016 PIRLS evaluation.
The NRC has six nodes or focus areas: Initial Teacher Education, Continuing Professional Development, Research, Policy, and Community Support, with the Access group focusing on availability, affordability and accessibility of reading material.
The NRC will focus initially on 25% of circuits in the country (mostly in Limpopo, North West and Mpumalanga) – not only in schools, but also in libraries, homes, and community centres through a coordinated plan delivered collaboratively by key players in the literacy space.
With Kulula Manona of the Department of Basic Education as champion, Tessa Welch is convening the Access to Reading Resources node. The plan for improving Access to Reading Resources identified the greatest need for indigenous language books in early childhood and primary schools. Reading resources are defined as:
- Books to stimulate reading for pleasure
- Mainly in indigenous languages (official and heritage languages)
- Both fiction and non-fiction
- Both print and digital.
The interconnection between Availability, Affordability and Accessibility (including accessibility to people with disabilities) all have to be considered in order to make access a reality.
The full presentation can be downloaded here.
Any organisation or individual who has something to offer the Access to Reading Resources group is welcome to contact Tessa at firstname.lastname@example.org or Kulula at email@example.com.