Reading in FP Seminar (28 April, JHB) space available :)


I’m currently involved in a number of research projects that look specifically at reading in the Foundation Phase in South Africa. In my view this is the cause of (and solution to) so many of the problems we see in our education system.

I thought it would be a good idea to get some of the SA reading researchers  in the same room to talk about the work they’re currently doing and talk about the way forward. So we’ve organized a half-day workshop for the 28th of April (8:30am-2:30pm). It will be an informal seminar of researchers and should be relatively small (<40 people) to make sure we have time to interact.

Prof Elbie Henning at UJ has kindly offered to host the workshop at UJ (as an aside I am now a part-time research fellow at her SARChI Chair).  See the programme below. There are a number of exciting presentations, perhaps most exciting is early feedback from Stephen Taylor et al’s RCT in the North West!

The good news is that we have additional space for 5 or 6 additional participants who would like to attend. So if you’re involved in reading research, teaching reading teachers or policy-making in the Foundation Phase and would like to come on the 28th please send me an email (nicholasspaull[at] with the title “Reading in FP Workshop.” Please also include a paragraph about who you are and why you’d like to attend.

Time Presenters
08:30 – 09:00  Morning tea and coffee
09:00 – 09:20 Nic Spaull, University of Johannesburg/OECD

Reading in the Foundation Phase – introduction, welcome and overview

09:25 – 09:45 TBD
09:50 – 10:10 Deborah Mampuru, University of South Africa

Reflections on the development of the African language DBE Workbook series

10:15 – 10:35 Elizabeth Pretorius, University of South Africa

Oral Reading Fluency and other components of ESL reading: What we know and what we still need to discover

10:40 – 11:00 Stephen Taylor, Department of Basic Education

Preliminary results of a Randomized Control Trial assessing an early grade reading intervention in the North West

11:00 – 11:20

Tea and coffee break

11:25 – 11:50 Elizabeth Henning, University of Johannesburg

Vision for the new NRF SARChI Chair in Integrated Studies of Learning Language, Mathematics and Science in the Primary School

11:55 – 12:20


Brahm Fleisch, Wits University

Reflections on large-scale interventions: Overview of ongoing interventions and discussion of the Triple Cocktail

12:20 – 13:20



Carol Nuga Deliwe, Department of Basic Education & Nic Spaull, University of Johannesburg/OECD

Facilitated discussion with everyone on prioritising reading in the DBE – moving from rhetoric to implementation

13:30 – 14:30



4 responses to “Reading in FP Seminar (28 April, JHB) space available :)

  1. Du Toit Visser

    Hi, I have recently completed a PhD study on the development of the ‘textbook competence’ of teachers within the field of ‘textbook pedagogy’ in teacher education. I have done some work on the characteristics that defines the quality of textbooks, the textbook competence of teachers, and how the textbook competence of teachers could be developed within a theoretical framework provided by textbook pedagogy as a field of study in teacher education. Although I have not specifically worked in the Foundation Phase I believe the role, importance, quality and use of textbooks (including readers and other resource material) is equally important in all phases of schooling, and the need to develop the book competence of teachers is critical in all phases of schooling. My concern is that we may think it would be good enough to only teach reading in the FP. Reading and how to work with books should be taught in every phase, in every grade . . . it is as important in grade 12 as it is in the FP. I would really be interested to attend the workshop that you have arranged at UJ. I thought the picture in your email was most appropriate: the book in the center of the picture represent the importance of books in education, and it is where it should be . . . right in the center of our focus . . . and the quality of the education we provide is dependent on the quality of this book . . . and how we use it. Christiaan

    Date: Sun, 24 Apr 2016 10:36:48 +0000 To:

  2. I love this and the Biggest solvable problem article. I teach in a small state school in Durban (mixed demographics but mostly middle class) where we insist on small grade 1 classes so that the children can learn to read at their own pace and for understanding and meaning. We do not get it right with every child but I hope that as these children will be a small part of the solution.

    I would love to see some of these presentations, wish I was in Jhb. Thanks for all the inspiration …..
    Isobel Sobey

  3. Dear Nic
    Hoe about holding a similar workshop in Cape Town? I am a master’s student specializing in learning and teaching with Roehampton university. Your articles on reading are duly noted and shared with my colleagues at school here in Cape Town…
    How about organizing workshops about synthetic phonics?

  4. christinedownton

    Hi Nic
    I found this in my inbox and just wondered what the outcome of the get together was. Anything written up?

    From: Nic Spaull <>
    Reply-To: Nic Spaull <>
    Date: Sunday, April 24, 2016 at 12:36 PM
    To: Christine Downton <>
    Subject: [New post] Reading in FP Seminar (28 April, JHB) space available 🙂

    Nic Spaull posted: ” I’m currently involved in a number of research projects that look specifically at reading in the Foundation Phase in South Africa. In my view this is the cause of (and solution to) so many of the problems we see in our education system. I thought it woul”

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