The Won Life Literacy Centre was opened in May 2013 in converted and renovated shipping containers on Trevor Manuel Primary School’s premises. This programme uses curriculum developed by Shine Literacy, an established non-profit organisation focusing on English literacy intervention.
Our aim is to equip these young learners with critical comprehension skills which are key to their academic success. Learning to read has been identified by experts as the key educational goal for learners in Grades 1 to 3 as it is the core academic skill upon which all other academic skills are built. More than this, the programme facilitates a smoother transition to Grade 4 for the Xhosa learners who switch from Xhosa to English as their language of instruction as they enter the Intermediate Phase.
At the Literacy Centre, children are put into pairs and allocated a volunteer whom they work with for the course of the year
As there is only ever a maximum of two children to one volunteer, children are given focused and individualised attention. Volunteers guide children through a carefully crafted programme which allows the children the opportunity to practise their emergent reading, writing and speaking skills in a safe and nurturing environment. In this way, we offer fun and creative learning opportunities for the children to ensure deeper learning and lasting change.
This year our programme has grown and so the Literacy Centre now facilitates over 70 volunteers who provide Literacy Hour sessions to 90 children twice a week. Our Literacy Centre Programme is completely dependent on volunteer involvement for its success.
At the Literacy Centre we fulfil the First Additional Language criteria from the CAPS curriculum. In order to do this, we have partnered with Shine Literacy, an NPO based in Cape Town which has had proven success with its reading programmes. This programme offers four different elements in an hour-long session: Paired Reading, Shared Reading, Have-a-Go Writing and Wordplay Games. Each child attends two hour-long sessions a week.
Our Literacy Centre Programme is completely dependent on volunteer involvement for its success. We have volunteers from all walks of life who invest a morning each week in showing children the wonder or reading and learning. Volunteers are paired with a maximum of two children whom they work with for the course of the year. Volunteers need no special qualifications; just the ability to read, write and speak in English and to offer one weekday morning each week to make a difference in the life of a child. Relevant training in the learning material we use is provided. If you are interested in volunteering, we would love to have you join our team! Please contact us on
There are currently 92 children who attend our Literacy Centre, with each child attending two hour-long sessions a week. In order to ensure we are giving our children the best possible grounding in the English language, we keep the same children on the programme from Grade 2 to Grade 3. We have chosen to work with a smaller group of children with an emphasis on quality rather than quantity. Because we believe in delivering programmes of an excellent standard, we choose to start small and grow our capacity in a controlled and sustainable manner. The children are assessed at the end of their Grade 1 year to determine which children will join the programme the following year.