National Framework for the Teaching of Reading in African Languages in the Foundation Phase

The framework recognises that although learning to read is very similar across languages, differences in the way languages are structured and in their writing systems (orthographies) influence the reading process. The Framework seeks to help teachers and curriculum specialists understand that the reading approaches and methods on how to teach reading in African languages differs in some ways from English, especially with regard to the early stages of learning to read when children learn how to link letters to sounds, and to use this knowledge to read words (decoding). Currently, the influence of reading approaches used in English is so strong that it overrides the development of reading methods and pedagogies that are appropriate for African languages. The Framework unpacks the teaching of decoding skills (phonological awareness, phonics) and dense morphology that pose challenges for young children in the early stages of learning to read in African languages. The Framework emphasises that the morphological, phonological and orthographical features of African languages should be factored in the design of reading curricula, the development of teacher training programmes and assessment for African languages.