What we do

Vision: Changing lives through literacy

Mission: Wordworks supports the early language and literacy learning of children from historically disadvantaged communities in South Africa. By sharing our materials, know-how and enthusiasm with teachers, parents, volunteer tutors and home visitors in a respectful and inclusive way, we seek to ensure that all our children can learn to read and write successfully.

Wordworks was established in 2005 to support and improve early language and literacy learning among children from historically disadvantaged communities in South Africa. We believe that education is the key to transforming the life chances of children in South Africa, and that to succeed at school, all children must have the right foundations in place to read and write. By working alongside and sharing our materials, know-how and enthusiasm with teachers, parents, volunteer tutors and home visitors in a respectful and inclusive way, we seek to ensure that all our children can learn to read and write successfully.

Wordworks programmes transfer valuable knowledge and skills to those who are at the heart of their communities and best-placed to ensure that education solutions are mainstreamed and self-sustaining. Our methodology and resources are evidence-based and reflect the extensive body of research around what works in supporting the acquisition of early language and literacy skills.

We run four main programmes, in partnership with preschools, schools, libraries and community organisations:

  • training volunteers to assist young children as they learn to read and write through the Early Literacy Programme
  • empowering parents to support learning in the home though the Home-School Partnership Programme
  • providing training and resources for teachers to strengthen literacy teaching in Grade R (STELLAR)
  • giving parents and caregivers of babies and young children practical ideas to build language and encourage learning in a loving, supportive way in the Every Word Counts Programme

Each of our programmes includes some or all of the following elements:

  • high-quality training
  • ongoing mentoring and support
  • user-friendly materials and resources

Wordworks is increasingly playing a role in knowledge development and sharing in the field of early language and literacy learning. Through publications and presentations at conferences, we are helping to increase understanding of what works, and to highlight the importance of engaging parents and communities in supporting early language and literacy.