Shine Literacy offers literacy support programmes in 43 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

Shine 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 Home

Our focus is to ensure that every child in the Foundation Phase receives a quarterly literacy resource pack with the objective of having their own reading and writing resources. This is enhanced by messaging for parents where we are driving a ‘read with your child’ campaign using Paired and Shared Reading methodology. Using WhatsApp, we send weekly messages to the teachers who share them with the parents/caregivers. In this way, we communicate with the parents of these children, without needing to increase our internal human capacity.

In term one of 2022, we distributed 9 355 Resource Packs to Foundation Phase learners in 43 schools across four provinces (Western Cape, Gauteng, KwaZulu-Natal and Eastern Cape).

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. To this end Shine Literacy staff will work closely with the school principals, governing body, teachers and HODs of both Foundation Phase and Intermediate Phase, Western Cape Education Department (WCED) officials, and a number of other key stakeholders that also support the school to ensure that systems, policies, activities, and daily behaviour reinforces a love of books, storytelling, individualised reading practice, and creative writing.

A quarterly Community of Practice is planned for each school to attend where teachers will be sharing best practice, new initiatives, and current methodology with like-minded individuals within the literacy space in education.  The emphasis is that these activities need to be school-based and school-led. Each Foundation Phase class will have a trained Youth Reading Partner that will ensure that every child has individualised reading each day and takes home a reader too. 

Shine Chapters

After 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 21 Shine social franchises in four provinces. We call these ‘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.

Storytime with Shine

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

Storytime 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.

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 is implementing the Youth 4 Literacy (Y4L) programme in 22 schools in the Western Cape. One hundred and thirty (130) recently matriculated, unemployed youth will become Shine Reading Partners in Grades 2 and 3 classrooms.

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

read together

Shine Literacy will be encouraging Shine’s Reading Partners 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.

Year Beyond

Collaboration is important to achieving a wider reach of beneficiaries, as a result, we have forged a deeper partnership with like-minded NGO’s and the WCED under a joint project called @Homelearning. This programme is led by the WCED, where support is provided to parents to support their children to learn at home.

The YearBeyond programme under the Western Cape Government continues to focus on scale. This is an opt-in programme, facilitated specifically in English and Afrikaans only, in Grades 3 and 4 classes. 20 Children for each class register to be on the programme and are meant to receive two weekly paired reading sessions during class time. In the afternoon they have an After-school programme running for the children.

Shine Literacy offers training to the YearBeyond Programme, which places trained unemployed youth (YeBoneers) in Grade 3 and 4 classrooms with the aim to provide children with structured time to practice reading in class to improve their reading skills. The difference with this programme is that it works exclusively with children within certain attainment levels and only supports reading in English and Afrikaans.

This year, the programme placed 750 youth reading and after school programme facilitators, known as YeBoneers, in approximately 120 schools in the Western Cape region. They support reading in Grade 3 and 4 classes. The targeted reach of children is approximately 15 000.