Original Research

The culture of the sharp pencil: Can a literacy intervention lever school change?

Sally Currin, Elizabeth J. Pretorius
Reading & Writing | Vol 1, No 1 | a3 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/rw.v1i1.3 | © 2010 Sally Currin, Elizabeth J. Pretorius | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 22 May 2010 | Published: 22 May 2010

About the author(s)

Sally Currin, Independent school consultant
Elizabeth J. Pretorius, Department of Linguistics, University of South Africa

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This article reports on a reading intervention project undertaken in a high poverty primary school in Gauteng where reading levels in both the home language, Northern Sotho, and in English were very low. Some of the factors associated with school effectiveness (SE) are first examined and thereafter the nature of the reading intervention programme is described.The project outcomes are presented and discussed against established SE factors and the high poverty ecological system within which the school operates. Although some of these outcomes are presented quantitatively, the article also considers some of the qualitative aspects of the intervention and its outcomes. Despite obstacles which lessen impact, it is concluded that a reading intervention in high poverty schools can simultaneously improve learner performance and the functioning of an ineffective school, but that such an intervention needs to adopt a multi-level ecological approach.


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