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A reading teacher uses Funda Wande workbooks to teach South African students to read.

Funda Wande: Equipping teachers for stronger literacy instruction

Project Overview

Recent international assessments show that 78 percent of South African Grade 4 learners cannot read for meaning. In certain home languages like isiXhosa, that figure jumps to 88 percent.

The Funda Wande “Teach Reading for Meaning” project was created to equip all grade R-3 teachers in South Africa with the capabilities to teach children how to read by 2023. To train teachers how to more effectively teach reading, Funda Wande created a no-cost, engaging, multimedia course that includes a variety of touchpoints for teachers to continue to grow their literacy instruction skills. The course features real South African teachers inside their own classrooms, with their own students, and is the first of its scope and quality in South Africa.

How it helps

Through this emphasis on more effective literacy instruction, Funda Wande aims for all South African children to be able to read for meaning in their home language by the age of 10. To achieve this, its multimedia course focuses on instructors teaching African languages, from grade R to grade three in no-fee schools. The videos are available for all teachers in the country, and are filmed using real teachers teaching a class of 45 to 50 students — a realistic scenario for the majority of South African classrooms. The course includes instruction on the core components of reading and writing in the Foundation Phase, including modules like comprehension, vocabulary, writing, and CAPS reading activities.

As a teacher continues with the program, an expert coach will observe their classroom and provide targeted advice on how to improve their practice. Teachers also attend off-site workshops that allow them to work collectively on particular issues — and spend time working on Funda Wande materials together.

The team believes that children who attend no-fee schools and learn in African languages should have access to the same quality of materials as well-resourced children. So, every child is provided with a Graded Reader Anthology, and every participating classroom receives a library of grade-relevant materials.

We see this teacher training as the most necessary step to ensure all South African children learn to read and write for meaning and pleasure.

Foundation Project Lead