Children Engagement with Literacy: A Study of Literacy Practices at a Multilingual Classroom in Cape Town, South Africa


  • A. Prosper


This paper reports on the early literacy activities which children engage with at school to develop multi-competences.  It draws an understanding of literacy as a social practice given the intricacies related to a particular literacy event.  In this paper literacy is understood beyond reading and writing ability in order to widen the scope for early literacy learners to explore with literacy.  The data was collected through ethnographic case study design from a grade three class using observation and document analysis. The class teacher became a resource as she used linguistic competence in English, Afrikaans and IsiXhosa to teach literacy in different situations. The data shows that, language is a resource for teaching and learning literacy instead of seeing it as a problem and barrier to the learning process.   Home language can be an instrument through which children develop cognitive skills for learning. The paper concludes that, despite the efforts to support learners to become multi-literate, teachers’ competence in different languages is necessary to facilitate the acquisition of multilingual skills.   

Author Biography

A. Prosper

Institute of Continuing Education,  The Open University of Tanzania


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