The Project for the Study of Alternative Education in South Africa (PRAESA) works to help create conditions for learning, inside and outside of school, that motivate children and adults to want to read and write – and enable them to actually do so – in African languages and in English.

PRAESA is an independent research and development unit affiliated with the University of Cape Town and has three core goals:

  • to provide children with high-quality literature in South African languages;
  • to collaborate with and foster new networks among publishers and organisations that promote reading; and
  • to initiate and carry out activities that help sustain a living culture of reading and storytelling in socially vulnerable communities.

PRAESA works in constant dialogue with the latest research and in collaboration with volunteers at grassroots level.

Literacy learning can take place in any language and it is the democratic right of all South African children to use their mother tongue not only to learn the formal school curriculum,  but also to access the wonders, mysteries and satisfaction of stories – told and read.


We offer hands-on training as well as consultancy work in these areas:

  • early childhood development literacy;
  • multilingual materials development; and
  • curriculum development.

PRAESA’s holistic, meaning based approach to language and literacy teaching and learning has several strands:

We mentor adults to deepen understandings of  the value of becoming reading and writing role models for children of all ages, and continually develop strategies for achieving this.

We initiate the development of materials for use with babies and children in multilingual settings, through original writing as well as translation.

Within school, at home and in community settings, PRAESA focuses on supporting teachers and other adults to help children learn to read and write through play, with meaning and for enjoyment.

We help to set up school libraries; plan literacy focus times; and create book-filled areas for reading, writing and across the curriculum.

• Our latest Annual Report details our activities.