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New reading platform makes reading in Afrikaans fun for school kids

by | May 30, 2024 | News, Schools

Oxford University Press South Africa (OUPSA) has launched its Afrikaans library for Oxford Reading Buddy – which like its English counterpart – aims to boost comprehension skills by making reading fun and interactive. Children can choose their own reading buddy, who will be their virtual friend to make the process of learning essential comprehension skills more enjoyable and engaging. 

Oxford Reading Buddy, an innovative virtual reading platform, has been in the South African market since 2022. To date the reading platform only had English libraries available to learners, but in March 2024 OUPSA officially launched an Afrikaans library to expand the current offering. The Afrikaans library uses the same interactive digital reading platform as the English libraries and can be used for both Home Language and First Additional Language learners.

Like the English libraries, the aim of the Afrikaans Oxford Reading Buddy library is to boost reading comprehension among learners in schools. A recent PIRLS study indicated that 81 percent of South African Grade 4s cannot read for meaning in their home language. As reading for meaning is a critical component of learning and engaging with text, the impact on a child may be felt throughout their lives.

“Oxford Reading Buddy allows learners with different reading levels to use the platform and advance through the reading levels at their own pace,” says Lize Venter-Horn, Digital Publisher at OUPSA and part of the team behind the development of the Afrikaans library. “If you don’t read as well as another person, you try to keep up, but a lot of the time you might not understand what you are reading. Oxford Reading Buddy takes you on a personalised journey reading at your own level and pace.”

Oxford Reading Buddy is accessed online and can be used both in class and at home. The reading experience is personalised for each learner, allowing them to work at their own pace.

Audio support in the Afrikaans library uses local South African voices to narrate the books. For teachers it is easy to keep track of their learners’ progress, with both an overview of the class as a whole, and also for each individual learner. They are then able to identify areas where the learner will need more guidance and support.

Ultimately, Oxford Reading Buddy aims to make learning to read with comprehension a joyful, engaging activity, building lifelong skills including reading, comprehension, and vocabulary.

As Lize Venter-Horn says: “I grew up in the Northern Cape in a very small town. In my childhood, oceans, forests, and lakes were not part of my everyday experience. But when I read, I was taken to those places – to a new world. Reading lets you imagine things better than anyone else can imagine them for you. It is magic.”

Find out more about the Oxford Reading Buddy or sign up for a free trial here: https://resourcehub.oxford.co.za/oxford-reading-buddy/#contact

Scan the QR code to book a one-on-one demo at your school:

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