Print Page   |   Contact Us   |   Sign In   |   Register
Reading Literacy and Associated Reading Interventions for High-Risk Children
Share |

IRN Start Date: May 1, 2015

Reading literacy can be regarded as one of the most important abilities students acquire as they

progress through their early school years (Mullis, Martin, Foy and Drucker, 2012). As a foundation for learning across all subjects, literacy can be used for recreation and personal growth, while simultaneously providing young children with the ability to participate more extensively in their communities and societies.


Worldwide, education systems are challenged with providing equal and quality education as a basic right to all its citizens. Grave concerns with regard to low levels of student achievement pervade research initiatives and educational debates for students who come from high-risk, disadvantaged communities. In developing contexts, the adverse effects of lack of resources and low socioeconomic status on achievement are well documented (for example Howie, van Staden, Tshele, Dowse & Zimmerman, 2012; Netten, Droop & Verhoeven, 2011; van der Berg, 2008; Sailors, Hoffman & Matthee, 2007; Bos, Scwippert & Stubbe, 2007; Becker & Luthar, 2002). Also of concern is the ever-widening gap in performance between children from rural backgrounds and children from urban areas (Geske & Ozola, 2008; Flowers & Flowers, 2008). Rural settings are often associated with lack of basic services (such as sanitation), lack of resources and generally poor quality of schooling offered to children inhabiting them. In a study undertaken by Pretorius and Naude (2002) on the topic of poor reading and writing ability among children in South African townships, it was found that only 36% of primary school children could take a book, turn it into the correct position and open it as if they were about to read from it. Only 43% of children knew that words tell the story in a book. Pretorius and Naude (2002) ascribe this underachievement to a lack of 3 books in the home, to parents or caregivers who themselves are illiterate and do not demonstrate reading at home, and to the lack of proper pre-school education.


Developing contexts worldwide face challenges in providing quality education to its marginalised and disadvantages student populations. Despite considerable investment in educational input (such as policy and resources) and processes (such as curriculum provision and teacher support), outcomes (in the form of student achievement) often remain disappointingly low. Students from developing contexts generally perform poorly in international comparative assessment studies such as PIRLS, the Trends in International Maths and Science Study (TIMSS) and the Southern and Eastern African Consortium for the Monitoring of Educational Quality (SACMEQ). Well documented evidence of poor student achievement and persisting challenges encountered in worldwide contexts that present disadvantaged student populations at risk of failure or drop-out serves as backdrop to the proposed network. Through the proposed IRN, a platform for the current knowledge and theoretical insights of research on reading literacy and associated reading interventions for high-risk children from disadvantaged communities is proposed.



Surette van Staden 

University of Pretoria, South Africa



List of Participants 


1.      Prof Ambigapathy Pandian

2.      Prof. Nancy Madden

3.      Prof. Janet Condy

4.      Prof. Deslea Konza

5.      Dr. Mechteld van Kuijk

6.      Dr. Lisa Zimmerman

7.      Mr. Sakil Malik

8.      Prof Janet Condy

9.      Prof Ambigapathy Pandian

10.  Mr Sakil Malik

11.  Dr Mechteld van Kuijk

12.  Prof Elizabeth Pretorius

13.  Dr Hans Wagemaker

14.  Prof Roel Bosker

15.  Dr Stephen Taylor

16.  Ms Nelladee Palane

17.  Ms Celeste Combrinck

18.  Mr Matt Ditchfield

19.  Prof Nancy Madden

20.  Prof Brahm Fleisch

21.  Prof Elbie Henning

22.  Dr Andrea Netten

23.  Ms Marjeta Doupona

24.  Prof Ina Joubert

25.  Prof Robert Slavin

26.  Ms Ginette Perdok

27.  Ms Nathalie Koenig

28.  Ms Susie Taylor

29.  Prof Doug Willms

30.  Ms Annika Bergbauer

31.  Prof Molly Brown

32.  Ms Cilla Dowse


CLICK HERE to access literature on reading literacy and at-risk children!



Bos W, Schwippert K & Stubbe TC 2007. The linkage of social background and achievement, an international perspective. In W Bos, S Hornberg, KH Arnold, G Faust, L Fried, EM Lankes, K

Schwippert & R Valtin (eds). IGLU 2006: Lesekompetenzen von Grundschulkinderen in Deutschland im internationalen Vergleich (pp. 225-247). Munster: Waxmann.


Flowers, TA & Flowers, LA 2008. Factors affecting urban African American high school students’ achievement in reading. Urban Education, 43(2):154-171.


Geske A & Ozola A 2008. Factors influencing reading literacy at the primary school level. Problems of Education in the 21st Century, 6:71-77.


Howie, SJ, van Staden, S, Tshele, M, Dowse, C. & Zimmerman, L 2012, South African Children’s Reading Literacy Achievement Summary Report. Pretoria: Centre for Evaluation and



Mullis, IVS, Martin, MO, Foy, P & Drucker, KT 2012, PIRLS 2011 International Results in Reading. Chestnut Hill, MA: Boston College.


Netten A, Droop M & Verhoeven L 2011. Predictors of reading literacy for first and second language learners. Reading and Writing, 24:413-425.


Pretorius, EJ & Naude, H 2002, ‘A culture in transition: Poor reading and writing ability among

children in South African townships’, Early Child Development and Care 172, 439-449.


Sailors M, Hoffman JV & Matthee B 2007. South African schools that promote literacy learning with students from low-income communities. Reading Research Quarterly, 42(3):364-387.


Servaas van der Berg. 2008. How effective are poor schools? Poverty and educational outcomes in South Africa. Studies in Educational Evaluation 34(3), September: 145-154


Click here for reports and/or activities of the IRN:

Membership Software Powered by YourMembership  ::  Legal