Action Brief: Emergent Language and Literacy

The Emergent Literacy and Language domain provides a snapshot of young children’s developing expressive language skills, vocabulary, understanding of language, and their awareness of sounds in words. These skills begin developing from the earliest days of a child’s life and are all critically important foundations for both reading and writing, and have a strong influence on whether children will learn to read and write with ease or difficulty.

The Thrive by Five Index 2021 found that only 54.7% of children who attend early learning programmes are achieving the standard for Emergent Language and Literacy, with 26% Falling Behind and 19.3% Falling Far Behind.

These findings point to the roots of our literacy crisis in South Africa. By not providing young children with quality early learning experiences that ensure they are On Track when they begin school, we continue to set both our children and our teachers up for failure.

This Action Brief offers full analysis and presents specific actions to take to rectify the status quo. The Brief is authored by Dr. Shelley O’Carroll, who has close to 20 years’ experience developing evidence-based programmes to support literac development in under-resourced communities in South Africa.

Download the full Action Brief here.