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Early Grade Interventions in South Africa: Reading and Mathematics

by | Nov 11, 2022 | Resources

These three volumes focus on developments in early grade reading and mathematics in South Africa between 2010 and 2022. Edited by Nic Spaull and Elizabeth Pretorius, Hamsa Venkat and Nicky Roberts, and Nic Spaull and Stephen Taylor respectively, the three books collectively bring together 77 authors from diverse disciplines, most of whom are South African researchers well known in the field of early grade reading and mathematics. The volumes seek out insights from lessons learned in the last decade, including whether reading and mathematics outcomes have improved, why they have improved, and why the post-improvement level of performance is still so low, concluding with an analysis of what interventions work and what scales. The collection  will interest local and international researchers, as well as policy-makers and donors, who want to know not only what works, but also why it works, how it works, and where it works.

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Review comments

Early Grade Mathematics in South Africa

“The contributors to this book unpack what it will take for South African children to engage in mathematics with confidence. The discussion of current problems and potential solutions is grounded in research, much of it in South African schools, and yet is readily accessible to both policy-makers and implementers. This book deserves to be widely read and discussed, to the benefit of South Africa’s children.”

Paul Cobb, Research Professor in Math Education, Peabody College, Vanderbilt University

“ This book brings together insights on issues that have long troubled early grade mathematics in South Africa: using children’s home languages as a resource for learning, intervening to improve early number teaching, and the best resources and models for doing this. A must-read for anyone seeking improvement in research, policy, and practice in early mathematics in South Africa and beyond. ”

Jill Adler, Professor of Mathematics Education, University of the Witwatersrand

Early Grade Reading in South Africa

“Until recently, much of education policy and planning with respect to early grade reading was based on a mix of tradition, guesswork, and sentiment. Now, for the first time, we have in our hands the most comprehensive empirical research yet on the (lamentable) state of reading in South Africa, and how to fix the problem. Skilfully edited and highly accessible, this book holds significant value for parents, teachers, researchers, and the general public concerned about reading and the foundations of education in South Africa – and, critically, what to do about it. ”

Jonathan Jansen, Distinguished Professor, Stellenbosch University

Early Grade Reading and Mathematics Interventions in South Africa

“ This volume makes it clear that South Africa has one of the richest collections of educational innovation, experimentation, and complementary research to evaluate reading and mathematics programs across the African continent. A decade of research is succinctly presented, documenting the country’s dynamic interplay between researchers, government, and non-government organizations. This volume will be crucial to policy-makers and researchers alike. ”

David K. Evans, Senior Fellow, Center for Global Development

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