n Mousaion - An exploratory study of children's reading promotion in South Africa

Volume 29, Issue 3
  • ISSN : 0027-2639



Reading promotion projects are important in that they promote access to reading and improve children's reading comprehension. The aim of this study was to answer the main research question: What are the characteristics of children's reading promotion projects in South Africa? An exploratory study was appropriate for this task, as it provided information on reading promotion projects in South Africa, which are largely uncharted. An inductive content analysis method was used. Relevant documents pertaining to the reading promotion projects were obtained and analysed. Fifty-two reading promotion projects were identified. The results indicate that non-governmental organisations (NGOs) play a leading role in children's reading promotion projects. The government plays a part but mostly through the Department of Education. The projects use a variety of methods to promote reading, the most common being book donations, which is used as a monomethod. Very few of the projects indicate their sustainability or provide evaluation indicators. The study concludes that the picture of reading promotion in South Africa is grim. The main cause of this is that support from the highest levels of government does not exist. Apart from the few government initiatives, which are neither well planned, funded nor executed, reading promotion has to rely on what may be termed "reading Samaritans" from the local and international NGOs and the private sector whose capacity to reach a wider audience is limited.

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