Original Research

Promoting literacy through reading programmes for first-year university students

Dianne Shober
Reading & Writing | Vol 7, No 1 | a117 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/rw.v7i1.117 | © 2016 Dianne Shober | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 18 September 2015 | Published: 01 December 2016

About the author(s)

Dianne Shober, Department of English, University of Fort Hare, South Africa


University lecturers share a concern for incoming varsity students who lack the literacy competence to succeed in their courses. Given the strong correlation between reading and literacy, the English Department commenced an innovative and effective reading programme which witnessed positive and enthusiastic results. By engaging students in reading select works of fiction, we were able to increase their comprehension, build their vocabulary and inculcate an individual interest in reading literature. This paper discusses the resultant voluntary reading programme that was organised for first-year students enrolled in English language classes, the theoretical methodology of the programme, its implementation and positive results, especially in the students’ improved English course marks. It also explores ways to configure this programme to extend beyond university boundaries into effective community engagement.


literacy; university; comprehension; vocabulary; literature; reading


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