Government is implementing an Early Grade Reading Programme, which consists of an integrated package of lesson plans, additional reading materials and professional support to Foundation Phase teachers.
Delivering the State of the Nation Address (SONA) in Parliament, President Cyril Ramaphosa announced that the programme forms part of the broader efforts to strengthen the basic education system by empowering school leadership teams, improving the capabilities of teachers, and ensuring a more consistent measurement of progress for Grades 3, 6 and 9.
"We also have to prepare our young people for the jobs of the future. This is why we are introducing subjects like coding and data analytics at a primary school level," President Ramaphosa said.
The President also announced that all foundation and intermediate phase teachers are to be trained to teach reading in English and the African languages, and a cohort of experienced coaches are being trained and deployed to provide high quality on-site support to teachers.
"If we are to ensure that within the next decade, every 10-year-old will be able to read for meaning, we will need to mobilise the entire nation behind a massive reading campaign.
"Early reading is the basic foundation that determines a child's educational progress, through school, through higher education and into the work place," the President said.
"All other interventions - from the work being done to improve the quality of basic education to the provision of free higher education for the poor, from our investment in TVET colleges to the expansion of workplace learning - will not produce the results we need unless we first ensure that children can read.
"It is through initiatives like the National Reading Coalition that we will be able to coordinate this national effort," President Ramaphosa said.