Original Research

Finding the plot in South African reading education

Peter Rule, Sandra Land
Reading & Writing | Vol 8, No 1 | a121 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/rw.v8i1.121 | © 2017 Peter Rule, Sandra Land | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 24 October 2015 | Published: 07 September 2017

About the author(s)

Peter Rule, Centre for Higher and Adult Education, Stellenbosch University, South Africa
Sandra Land, Adult and Community Education Unit, Durban University of Technology, South Africa


This article argues that we have lost the plot in South African reading education. To find it, we need to move beyond the predominant mode of reading as oral performance, where the emphasis is on accuracy and pronunciation, to reading as comprehension of meaning in text. While reading research in South Africa has been conducted mainly in school contexts, this case study is of a school and Adult Basic Education and Training Centre in a rural KwaZulu-Natal community near Pietermaritzburg. It found that an oratorical approach to reading dominated in both settings. It suggests that developing the way in which teachers understand the teaching of reading and transforming the teaching practices of those who teach as they were taught in the education system of the apartheid era are key to improving the teaching of reading.


Reading; teaching; comprehension; oratorical reading


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