Women graduate from reading training programme

Thirty women graduated from a level 1 literacy training workshop for reading and writing. The workshop took place over five days from Monday March 14 and ended Friday March 18 at Springwood Baptist Church.

Thirty women have graduated from a level 1 literacy training workshop run by non-profit Reading and Writing Solutions.

The workshop, on how to effectively teach reading and writing to a child or adult, took place over five days, from Monday March 14, and ended on Friday March 18 at Springwood Baptist Church in Lentegeur.

Founder of Reading and Writing Solutions, Jeff Paulse, 70, from Athlone, said he was proud of the women and what they’ve accomplished during the workshop.

He founded the literacy organisation in 2013 and has since trained over 1 538 reading tutors all over the Western Cape. They are changing lives and empowering people through reading and writing, he said.

They work mainly with schools, parents and religious organisations.

Mr Paulse is a retired school principal from Athlone North Primary School. He was also a pupil at the school, practised teaching at the school and stayed at the school from student teacher until he retired as the principal of the school. He has 50 years teaching experience, he said.

The workshop was mainly about how to effectively and successfully teach a struggling reader or a child and adult in a structured, methodical way.

“It is important to read. I meet people on a daily basis who can’t read or are struggling with reading. The pandemic has affected reading, this affected school children and it has worsened. Parents have contacted me to help them and some of our trained tutors, currently work at high schools,” said Mr Paulse

“Sometimes students cannot comprehend what they have read. We go back to the basics. It is very simple, we require no academic qualifications from the people we train. They just need to be literate themselves, willing, passionate and determined to help their community, and making a difference,” he said.

We teach them personal development. “I have to make them believe in themselves. Some are very affected by social ills, we empower them to teach reading and writing; we go in-depth during the sessions. We teach them effective listening skills, we also teach them various fun and interactive ways of teaching reading and language, problem solving, to name a few. All our methods you can apply in English and Afrikaans. We link it all to the current CAPS curriculum,” said Mr Paulse.

All resource material and lesson plans have been provided by the NPO, with the help of their partners.

“I encourage people to read, reading prevents the onset of Alzheimer’s. I also make sure those who are part of this programme, learn to remember names,” he said.

Retired retail manager and participant of the workshop, Violet Michels, 57, said she has enjoyed the workshop with everyone.

“During this training, laughing does something, it breaks down walls, it also allows us to grow closer. Thank you to Mr Paulse, this is your passion. It’s not a job to you, it is what you love. Thank you all. I am happy to have been a part of this programme and this team,” said Ms Michels.

Her daughter and participant of the workshop Chandre’ Michels, 34, said Mr Paulse has activated the motivation in them to continue the lessons learnt during the workshop.

“I knew I wanted to teach children. My son has autism and this workshop has helped me teach children with autism. Your obedience to the call of reading uncle Jeff, has sparked it inside of me, I want to continue the art of reading and writing in my environment. A little, done well, is much,” said Ms Michels.

Melissa Ross, minister at Springwood Baptist Church, said she was optimistic for the community who took part in this training workshop.

“We are committed to implementing solutions within our community by running interventions and workshops. For pupils affected by the lack of schooling during the pandemic, this workshop played a part in the longevity of reading,” said Ms Ross.

Their church is community orientated, they’ve invested in the well-being of the community and the progress of the community, she said.

“We are proud of the participants and we wish them all of the best on their journey ahead,” said Ms Ross.

Participant Valerie De Reuck, 73, said the programme was amazing and very informative. “I’ve learnt so much and feel equipped with the information I’ve learnt.”

A teary-eyed and youngest participant on Friday March 18, Caitlin Osler, 20, said she is thankful to those in the programme. “Thank you for making it easy.Thank you for the week we’ve spent together and learning so much.”

The oldest participant, Gertrude Kesner, 79, said she left the programme inspired.

“I am grateful to have been a part of the training and inspiring me to read again. They should also continue helping children read. I appreciate the work of Jeff Paulse, Nuraan Van der Schyff and Melissa Ross, for having imparted some knowledge into me,” said Ms Kesner.

If any school, religious organisation, parents or community, need more information on the literacy NPO, contact paulsejeff@gmail.com or call 082 216 2460.