Shine Literacy offers literacy support programmes in 46 primary schools. Our reach includes the Western Cape, Eastern Cape, Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal. We offer training to organisations such as faith-based organisations, community centres as well as to individuals who share our passion to get children reading and, in this way, address South Africa’s educational crisis.

Creating a Culture of Reading

Reading_VolunteerShine Literacy’s programmes are aligned to the Department of Basic Education’s Sector Action Plan for 2024, an evidence-based, inspiring directive.  Focussing on every child in Grade 1, 2 and 3 our primary objective is to address systemic challenges at home and at school while ensuring children have daily access to reading resources and a positive reading champion.

Shine has worked at delivering well-resourced reading support at homes providing caregivers and children with invaluable tools to help reduce the literacy gap between high and low achieving learners and develop a culture of reading at home. 

As a result of the global pandemic which has resulted in so many children being far behind the expected literacy levels we have changed our strategy and are focussing on every child in Grade 1,2 and 3 and our primary objective is to address systemic challenges at home and in the classroom room which prevent children from learning to read and write at grade level.

Creating a Culture of Reading at School

More than ever schools need to be a place where the daily reading of books and writing activities are a priority. Systems, policies, activities and daily behaviour must all point towards a strong reading culture. The emphasis is that these activities need to be school-based and school-led.

Each Foundation Phase class will have a trained youth Reading Champion that will ensure that every child has individualised reading each day and takes home a reader too.

An audit of resources and activities that support literacy will be taken in Foundation Phase classrooms and teachers will be invited to belong to a Community of Practise. The objective will be for teachers and literacy specialists to share ideas, share expertise and encourage and inspire one another. 

Creating a Culture of Reading at Home

Our focus is to ensure that every child in the Foundation Phase receives a quarterly literacy resource with the objective of having their own reading and writing treasures. This will be enhanced by messaging for parents/caregivers where we are driving a ‘read with your child’ campaign using Paired and Shared Reading methodology. Using WhatsApp we send our weekly messages to the teachers who push them forward and in this way, we communicate with the parents/caregivers of these children.

The SHINE Home Resource packs include books, stationery, children’s magazines and parental support materials and flyers.

Launch of a data-free mobile site where children listen to stories and play activities that develop literacy skills

Story Time with Shine, a data-free Mobi-Site, is another exciting project to support learning at home.  The site includes  ‘Look and Listen’ and ‘Read to Me’ tabs which allows children to listen to or read storybooks in a choice of five languages. 

There are currently more than 35 different titles available in IsiZulu, IsiXhosa, English, Afrikaans, and French with more stories in different languages being added regularly.  All these resources are free for users and we are encouraged by the user data which indicates that since inception (April 2021) 10 000 visitors from 41 countries have spent time on the Mobi-Site.




literacy_centre_462x330After many requests from individuals and organisations, we embarked on an exciting journey to find a way to replicate our model, without extensive financial and operational investment. This has resulted in 37 Shine social franchises in four provinces. We call these our ‘Shine Chapters’.

Shine Chapters are social franchises that deliver the Shine Literacy Hour model but are run and funded independently. The Chapter Manager is responsible for recruiting volunteers and ensuring that the programme is delivered according to the Shine Literacy model. Shine Literacy provides initial training and resources, and ongoing support and monitoring. The Chapters are a smart solution for replicating our essential model, helping us to spread knowledge more widely and to reach far more children than we could on our own.

This innovative model received recognition in 2013 from Impumelelo (Silver Award for Social Innovation) and the 2012 Rising Star Award (Africa-Middle East) from the STARS Foundation.

Youth 4 Literacy (Y4L)


Extensive research confirms that self-selected reading for pleasure results in profound growth in nearly all aspects of literacy, including reading ability, vocabulary, grammar, writing style, and spelling. Children who read for enjoyment perform better in all subjects including Mathematics. 

In 2022, Shine Literacy will be implementing the Youth 4 Literacy (Y4L) programme in 22 schools in the Western Cape. One hundred and sixty (160) recently matriculated, unemployed youth will become Reading Champions in Grades 2 and 3 classrooms.

The youth will be trained to conduct paired reading with each child daily as well as read a story to the whole class. They will also be tasked with supporting the administration of books going home in their respective schools. 

Shine Literacy will be encouraging Shine’s Reading Champions to work with their class teacher and conduct any other activities that support a reading culture at school. Shine Literacy’s Y4L model also allows for significant social benefits to develop alongside the attainment of employment targets for the youth. 

Shine Literacy recognises that the Social Sector provides a unique set of opportunities to boost youth employment. Providing meaningful work which builds self-esteem, pro-social behaviour, and stands to develop a sense of contribution to the community is truly transformative. We have eight years of experience partnering with Action Volunteer Africa and youth volunteers.

We have an understanding of individual transformation and methods to best support vulnerable young people.  We want to continue to scale this partnership which provides youth with courses and stipends from the Youth Employment Service (YES) Programme and see it as a crucial part of our vision for Shine Literacy.



Shine Literacy’s Theory of Change aims to get more children reading and writing at an appropriate level by delivering programmes that increase children’s access to quality literacy learning opportunities and resources. We realise that only by working in partnership with others can we accomplish our vision of a nation of readers.

Shine Literacy, in collaboration with the Western Cape Government’s Youth and After School Programme Office (YASPO), is in its sixth year of being the Academic Partner for the YearBeyond programme. This year 500 matriculated and unemployed youth (YeBoneers)were trained and placed in the Grade 3 and 4 classrooms of 96 schools with the aim to provide children with structured time to practise reading in class to improve their English and Afrikaans reading skills. 



The Shine Book Buddies model pairs older and younger children in schools together to enhance the reading skills of both. They meet two to three times a week for 15 minutes and do paired and shared reading – methodology also used in all Shine Centres during the Literacy Hour programme. Carefully selected readers (books) are offered in English and/or the mother tongue of the children. This simple, yet highly effective programme, can be facilitated by class teachers, and easily incorporated as a school-led initiative.


The Masikhulisane Book Buddies programme is a bi-lingual, cross-age reading for enjoyment programme which was inspired by Shine Literacy’s methodology. Working in partnership with Masikhulisane, five schools in the Eastern Cape are running this programme in 2018, with Shine Literacy serving as the overseeing partner. It emphasises the importance of developing a love of reading in children, using a bi-lingual approach to ensure that children have the opportunity to read stories in their home language and in their first additional language, and pairing children to read to each other thus drawing on the available resources of proficient readers in the school.


Recent research has highlighted the positive, yet unintended benefits that result from this type of initiative, namely: children from different age groups building friendships (which can benefit an entire community); older children having the opportunity to model good behaviour to younger children which can boost their self-esteem; and children are less likely to take part in bullying and they learn to work collaboratively (Boud, 2002; Developmental Studies Center, 1996; Topping et al., 2011; Juyonen & Graham, 2001).