78% of SA's Grade 4 learners are unable to read, study reveals

The Progress in International Reading Literacy Study (PIRLS) released on Tuesday shows that nearly 8 out of 10 of Grade 4 students in South Africa could not read for meaning.

The study sampled 12 810 Grade 4 learners from 293 schools across the country and 78% of Grade 4 learners fell below the lowest internationally recognized level of reading literacy.

The National Research Coordinator for South Africa's PIRLS, Professor Sarah Howie says this is a legacy issue in terms of resourcing of schools and teachers

We know that 80% of our learners are taught by teachers that are over 40 and that for itself speaks to the kind of training that was received 20 years ago.

Professor Sarah Howie, National Research Coordinator for PIRLS

If you do not have access to resources and well trained teachers, this could cause a problem.

Professor Sarah Howie, National Research Coordinator for PIRLS

Looking at resources, Howie says only 38% of the learners they tested had access to the schools library.

She says parents need to come to the party and encourage their children to read more - the home environment is very important. Parents who enjoy reading should share the joy with their children, she says.

To hear more about reading literacy study, listen below:


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