GADRA Education

Foundation for Literacy

Posted 16 April 2012

The Foundations for Literacy Programme was launched by GADRA Education in 2009 in partnerships with the Department of Education. It has grown to include 9 schools in 2012. The Programme reaches over 50 teachers and close to 2 000 Grade 1-3 learners. It uses the Molteno Language and Literacy Programme (Link to information on this or to the Molteno webpage) materials supplemented by additional training and classroom support. It is an intervention which is run in classrooms during teaching time as part of the core curriculum of learners.

In 2012 a parent involvement programme is being piloted as a means to strengthening the impact of the FFL Programme. FFL plans to extend into the Intermediate Phase (Grade 4-7) once sufficient impact is demonstrated in literacy levels of Foundation Phase learners.


Improve literacy by:

  • Training, empowering and supporting teachers in the Molteno 'Breakthrough to Literacy' (isiXhosa) and 'Bridge to English' programmes.

  • Monitoring the literacy teaching, assessing all learners annually and evaluating impacts on literacy levels in all 9 schools.

Rationale and Approach

Foundations of Literacy (in both Home Language and the language of instruction) are important for any future learning. Learning backlogs at each stage handicap progress in the next. Getting the start right for teachers and learners through a programme like Foundations for Literacy is vital.

The FFL uses a tried and tested methodology and set of resources, in a programme that flexes to the pace and needs of different classrooms. It provides enhanced teacher support, monitoring and feedback, together with regular assessments. We are proud to report that in 2011 all Grade 1, 2 and 3 teachers who have already been using the isiXhosa ‘Breakthrough to Literacy’ programme have now also utilised the ‘Bridge to English’ programme, this being the first year that English has been introduced at the Grade 1 level at these schools.

Training and Teacher Support

Molteno trainers are brought in by GADRA Education at the beginning of the year to train teachers as part of the FFL Programme. Most teachers have now gone through training but they still benefit from a refresher course at the beginning of the year.

FFL fieldworkers spend 2-3 hours in each classroom per month providing teacher support and input.


Independent assessments are conducted by FFL Fieldworkers in cooperation with teachers in all classrooms. A baseline assessment is conducted in February of each year and impact assessments in October/November each year. The results of these assessments are utilised to direct support and training of the FFL Programme for the coming year.

Grahamstown Literacy Project and Ukufunda

Participation in the GLP provides additional value-add to the FFL process. The small town setting facilitates strong working relationships with all role players and concentrated coverage to maximize impact. The FFL Coordinator also actively participates in Ukufunda, a project of the Friends of the Library. Links to relevant websites or articles of GLP and Ukufunda.

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