Selecting literature for beginner readers in South Africa

Liesel Hibbert, Marius Crous

Abstract


This article explores complexities of choosing appropriate reading material which may provide maximum engagement for beginner readers in Southern Africa, with the aim of instilling a lifelong love of reading. The article presents a case in favour of literary criteria as base line for choices of reading material for beginner readers. Furthermore, the article outlines general characteristics of reading material for beginner readers, as well as specific criteria to be considered in the Southern African context, taking into account the linguistic diversity which exists in formal education and the vast literacy backlog in the region. Furthermore, it is argued that translated children’s stories should ideally be adapted rather than literally translated, in order to meet the requirements of what is universally regarded as good children’s literature for beginner readers. A culture of reading can only be instilled by adhering to the following criteria, i.e. ensuring affective engagement, maximum meaning-making potential, delight, the engagement of the imagination for the purposes of developing the creative mind, and strong identification with the material for the purposes of developing a sense of agency.


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DOI: https://doi.org/10.5785/27-2-110

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ISSN 2224-0012 (online); ISSN 0259-2312 (print)

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