Developing a Reading Culture

South African literacy experts believe that poor performance in reading is deeply entangled with the glaring social and political inequalities in South Africa where the daily lives of most children are fraught with poverty, hunger and uncertainty. Reading is often taught in schools in a highly technical way with no attention paid to the need to motivate children to learn or to the fact that reading and writing are part of a socially shared and shaped culture. (

TVS plugs this gap and as well as supporting reading in schools is following the practicesthat literacy experts recommend are necessary to enrich children’s literacy lives.

  • Access to enjoyable, quality, illustrated published stories and non-fiction books in children’s most familiar languages as well as English is provided by the Learning Centre library and children are encouraged to take books home with them.
  • There is a dedicated time once a week for children to attend a village reading club after school where they can enjoy a nutritious snack and engage in a range of fun activities such as listening to stories, singing and playing games.
  • Community members are trained as reading club leaders and learn the value of children reading for pleasure outside the classroom.

As well as training by Sustainable Network Development and the One Heart Foundation TVS Learning Support Assistants and Reading Club Leaders have also participated in training from and the ASSITEJ Arts4Youth project, encouraging them to use drama and other activities to motivate children to get involved in reading.