Sink or Swim: Navigating Language in the Classroom

Through filmed lessons in a variety of classrooms and interviews, including with PRAESA founder Neville Alexander, this documentary shows the importance of mother tongue education and is as relevant today as it was when it was produced. Produced by TOMIX productions for PRAESA in 2004.

Isiqalo, Beginning with Books

Isiqalo, Beginning with Books, was produced for the First Words in Print project in the mid-2000s. PRAESA was a founding and initiating partner of the project, which was run by the Centre for the Book with a team of collaborators. The name of the project, First Words in Print, comes from a quote from the book Teacher  by Sylvia Ashton Warner, first published in 1963: “First words must mean something to a child. First words must have intense meaning for a child. They must be part of his being.” These videos are reproduced with kind permission of the Centre for the Book, Cape Town. The scripts were written by Carole Bloch and they were directed and produced by Margie Orford.

Beginning with Books 1: An introduction to the idea of using books with babies and young children
Beginning with Books 2: Getting deeper into books with babies
Beginning with Books 3: Sharing books with little ones – highlighting connecting through emotions and language
Beginning with Books 4: Finding print to notice and explore everywhere
Beginning with Books 5: How listening to and telling stories grow reading and writing

Click on the top left to choose a video from the playlist.

Feeling at home with literacy

Used widely in multilingual training both in South Africa and further afield, and also watched by families and practitioners in literacy and early childhood, PRAESA’s video Feeling at Home with Literacy Chapters 1-6 is available in Xhosa, English, Afrikaans and Sesotho.

Watching this video, shot on location in a Cape Town primary school and elsewhere in the city, the viewer spends time with a little girl, Zia who is just starting to read and write. Zia finds literacy stimuli all around her and in some unexpected places, guided by her mother and teachers who use all of the languages present in the classroom as a resource, instead of an obstacle. This video, filmed and directed by Wendy Hardie and written by PRAESA director Carole Bloch, will give teachers useful, practical advice on how to create an empowering and supportive multilingual early literacy learning environment.

Click on the top left to choose a video from the playlist.

Building Story Bridges to Literacy

These animated videos, created for PRAESA by Carole Bloch, Alan Munro and Margie Orford, illustrates the significance of stories for children’s literacy learning as they move from oral to written language. The video shows and provides insights into how a little girl and her brothers, who live in a rural, print-scarce setting, explore print and stories as part of their everyday lives.

Download the guide for Part 8: Building Story Bridges to Literacy: Stimulating Print Awareness

Click on the top left to choose a video from the playlist.

Rhymes and little stories in isiXhosa

Enjoy this collection of translated rhymes and little stories in isiXhosa with your young children. Engage with the ‘moving pictures’ along with the beautifully spoken and written words to share a fully meaningful early literacy experience together. Read along with the voice you hear and point out the words on the screen to help your child connect spoken and written language. Soon they’ll be doing it without you!
isiXhosa translations and voice: Ntombizanele Mahobe and Xolisa Guzula. A collaboration between Moving Picture Books and PRAESA, with funding from The Calabar Foundation.

Click on the top left to choose a video from the playlist.

Vulindlela Reading Club

These Vulindlela Reading Club videos share strategies and insights of the PRAESA team and volunteers in the Langa community who initiated, energetically inspired and supported reading for personal satisfaction and meaning with children and adults from 2006. This reading club in Langa served as a prototype for many other clubs, particularly from 2012 in the Nal’ibali Reading for Enjoyment Campaign.

Click on the top left to choose a video from the playlist.

Tips and demonstrations

Watch as PRAESA’s Carole Bloch shares ideas for choosing and sharing books with children.


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