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Language and Literacy resources repository

Are we country of cognitive genocide?

Full version of an article published in a condensed form by The Conversation on 26 February 2018 as "South Africa’s reading crisis is a cognitive catastrophe".

Brain wave study shows how different teaching methods affect reading development

Report on a study done at the University of Stanford that shows how different literacy teaching methods affect reading development. Beginning readers who focus on letter-sound relationships, or phonics, instead of trying to learn whole words, increase activity in the area of their brains best wired for reading, according to the Stanford research investigating how the brain responds to different types of reading instruction.


CITE-TEL is a web-based resource, the Critical, Interactive, Transparent & Evolving literature review in Initial Teacher Education in Literacy, hosted by the University of Texas at Austin. It seeks to list the research literature that is focused on initial teacher preparation in literacy and provides a forum for researchers, practitioners, and policy makers to engage with this growing body of research.

Dialects matter: The influence of dialects and code-switching on the literacy and numeracy achievements of isiXhosa Grade 1 learners in the Western Cap

A study of the influence of different dialects and code-switching on the literacy and numeracy achievements of isiXhosa Grade 1 learners in the Western Cape which found that many teachers did not use the standardised isiXhosa though they believed that dialects should not be used in the classroom. Many teachers had little or no knowledge about how to teach early reading in isiXhosa and use dialects as an aid. Learners who speak a dialect different from the standardised one start at a significant disadvantage. The authors argue for the standardisation of African languages, teacher training and development and better resource allocation and development of appropriate texts.

Early Grade Reading Study (EGRS)

This research study sought to examine the results of three interventions to improve teachers’ instructional practice – one with block training twice a year (which included provision of scripted lesson plans, materials and training), another with the same block training and ongoing support from a reading coach, and a third involving parents. The intervention with reading coaches was found to be a critical component in the persistence of gains.

Ending the Reading Wars: Reading acquisition from novice to expert

An exceedingly thorough and comprehensive up to date review of the science of learning to read, spanning from children’s earliest alphabetic skills through to the fluent word recognition and skilled text comprehension characteristic of expert readers. Phonics is highlighted as central to learning in a writing system such as English but other research is reviewed on what else children need to learn to become expert readers. Consideration is also given to how these findings might be translated into effective classroom practice.

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