No! No! This can’t be true … but it is.


‘The literacy crisis in South Africa is far worse than previously thought, with 78% of Grade 4 learners unable to read, according to the Progress in International Reading Literacy Study (PIRLS) report released on Tuesday.’ (5 December 2017)
For more of the facts and figures, please go to.

Do we agree?

Yes. This is what CBN is finding on an informal basis. At many workshops of 25 children we have a child who can’t read at all. At most workshops we have children reading only with difficulty. We work with reading books at least two grades below our age groups in order to catch the interest of our workshop participants. At some workshops it is clear that none of the children we are working with have ever read for the pure joy of reading.

But … they come. They come to workshops that they know are going to be about books and reading. They stay, although they could vote with their feet and go home any time they like. They come for four days if we give four-day workshops, and they come back often, bringing their friends.

Something is going horribly wrong when children want to read this badly, but are not learning to do so at school.

This is depressing news on the last day of school for 2017. As I type this, children are collecting their reports and heading for the glorious summer holidays. Will many of them be reading quietly in a corner during the next month? We wonder.

Pause for thought. Pause to regroup and come up with new strategies and time to reflect on how CBN can make more of a difference in this. Maybe time to give a clenched fist salute and say: ‘WE WILL NOT GIVE UP ON OUR CHILDREN!’

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