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Youth 4 Literacy | Shine Literacy CSI


New superheroes are on their way with Shine Literacy — as young volunteers are trained to work with young learners to build a nation of readers.

In a nation where only 22% of all Grade 4s are achieving basic levels of literacy, most young children aren’t achieving their full potential.  But by connecting unemployed recent matric graduates with young learners, Shine Literacy is training reading champions in school to develop vital reading and language skills.

Thanks to a R500 000 funds injection by MySchool MyVillage MyPlanet, the innovative Youth 4 Literacy programme will be playing its part in helping to tackle illiteracy, while helping upskill young adults and boost their self esteem as they seek employment.

Untapped potential


The National Department of Basic Education (DBE) points to low levels of literacy as a key reason behind high dropout and low matriculation success rates. As children struggle to understand learning material, they often become disengaged and leave school.

Now, more than ever, schools need to become places where daily reading of books and writing activities are a priority.  This means ensuring there are systems, policies and activities in place that encourage daily reading behaviour and a love of books, storytelling, individualised reading practice and creative writing.

Shine Literacy wants to do just that — and reading champions offer an innovative way of helping develop vital language skills.  At the same time, by upskilling unemployed matriculants, young people build the self-esteem they need to find gainful employment and contribute to their communities.

Shine Literacy educator and learner

Champions for reading

The Youth 4 Literacy (Y4L) programme will see 160 unemployed recent matric graduates becoming reading partners in Grade 2 and Grade 3 classrooms across 22 schools in the Western Cape. These reading champions are trained to conduct paired reading with each child every second day — and to read a story to the whole class every day.  They also monitor books that children take home and support class teacher reading activities.

Y4L also helps provide meaningful work which builds self-confidence and pro-social behaviour. By giving young people the opportunity to acquire key skills, they develop a sense of pride that gives them a chance to contribute meaningfully to their communities, and to secure future employment.

Shine Literacy educator and learner
Shine Literacy educator and learner 2

About Shine Literacy

Set up in 2000, Shine Literacy focuses on developing reading, writing and language skills of children in Foundation Phase who live in low-income communities.  In line with the country’s National Development Plan 2030 — and the UN’s Sustainable Development Goal 4 for quality education — the organisation works with key stakeholders, parents and teachers to help support children as they learn to read and write.

“Books in the home are the single biggest indicator of academic success – surpassing income, parents’ education, family composition and all other factors” (Jeff Mcquillan: The Literacy Crisis: False Claims, Real Solutions 1998).

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