On 1 February 2018, the Molteno Institute for Language and Literacy is launching its fresh, new website available at www.vulabula.co.za. Through the website, learners, teachers and members of the public can now download the Institute’s Vula Bula African language readers targeted at Grades 1 to 3 learners, free of charge. Those wanting bulk copies can buy them at cost online, and then have them delivered.
Masennya Dikotla, the Chief Executive Officer of the Molteno Institute for Language and Literacy, says that this is a breakthrough in Molteno’s efforts to make quality learning accessible to the poorest of the poor children in Africa, and in their languages. “This will boost our campaign for learning through indigenous languages,” he adds. “It will also help dispel the myth that there are no reading materials in African languages, while also weakening the argument that learners must learn through an unfamiliar language.”
The Vula Bula readers, which are published by Molteno Institute, are available in all South African vernacular languages, except SiSwati (the institute is currently in the process of producing SiSwati books). Both entertaining and educational, the Vula Bula African language graded reading series offers carefully structured graded texts for early, emergent and fluent readers in beautifully illustrated stories, contextualized to the young reader’s inner world and life experiences.
A non-profit language and literacy organisation, Molteno develops literacy through teaching and learning materials, as well as providing institutional training and classroom mentoring to developing communities in Africa.
As part of their work, Molteno produces innovative, research-based language and literacy learning and teaching materials in South Africa’s indigenous languages.
The institute also creates training courses that incorporate modern teaching methodologies, model good classroom practice, and provide for classroom monitoring and support.
Two years ago, Molteno adopted a two-pronged business model, sponsored by the Zenex Foundation, an independent trust to deliver programmes and projects in Mathematics, Science and Language education in South Africa.
This business model’s one prong is teacher development where Molteno experts coach, train and mentor teachers on early grade literacy skills. The second prong involves developing content for learners, teachers and members of the public to download and use – free of charge – through our website.
Teachers can download the Vula Bula books and teacher manuals from the Vula Bula website, interact with them and print them to use in their classrooms. If teachers and members of the public need a huge bulk of copies, they can purchase them at cost and online, and Molteno will deliver them within 14 days.
In fact, the books can be delivered everywhere on the continent in line with Molteno’s vision: “Towards a Literate Africa.”
“The aim of the new Vula Bula website is to put African languages on the educational map, and to enhance the argument for a mother tongue-based educational system,” says Masennya. “We also want to put books in the hands of learners, so that they can learn to read and read to learn.”
While the Vula Bula books are currently the only Molteno product available for download and purchase online, Molteno plans to upload its other materials later in the year.
The Vula Bula site goes live on 1 February to tie in with World Read Aloud Day, a day when people around the world read aloud together and share stories to advocate for literacy as a human right that belongs to everyone. Reading aloud to children everyday puts them almost a year ahead of kids who do not receive daily read-alouds.
We encourage teachers and members of the public to test the Vula Bula site and give us feedback on their experience once it goes live.
For more about Molteno Institute For Language And Literacy, refer to www.molteno.co.za
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