South Africa: Navigating the Journey Towards Reading for Meaning One Classroom Library At a Time

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Simple, cost-effective classroom libraries are popping up in primary schools across Makhanda (Grahamstown), courtesy of an innovative NPO, the Lebone Centre. Now Foundation Phase teachers are able to choose multilingual books and resources tailored to suit the needs of each classroom. In addition, children are now regularly reading bright, multilingual, culturally-appropriate books in small classroom reading groups. And, for the first time, they are able to take the books home.

The faint buzzing of voices spills out of the windows and doors lining the long corridor at George Dickerson Primary School. The 38 learners in Erika Pharo's Grade 3 classroom eagerly jump out of their miniature chairs, each banging the back of the one behind them, to sing "Good morning teachers" to us, their unexpected guests. Once the rush of excitement fades, they return, elbow to elbow, to practising their cursive handwriting skills on the worksheets in front of them.

The warm day seems to be like any other 8am to 2pm school day at George Dickerson Primary. Except today is charged with an atmosphere of hopeful anticipation - the Lebone Centre people are here, and they are putting libraries in three of the Foundation Phase classrooms.

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