The write approach: Can R2L help at tertiary level?

  • Rosemary Wildsmith-Cromarty
  • Kellie Steinke
Keywords: reading to learn, genre teaching, writing pedagogy, scaffolding reading, academic literacy


This article discusses a one-year intervention that was implemented using the Read to Learn (R2L) approach with 46 isiZulu-speaking students at a South African University in 2011.  All the students were in the BCom4 Access Programme at the University of KwaZulu-Natal and originated from Quintile 1-4 schools.  Participating students were taught to understand and read selected texts.  They were then assisted through a process of ‘scaffolding’, in which they ultimately learnt how to independently write a text of the same genre, using the six stages of the R2L teaching cycle.  Of the original 46 students, 10 were closely tracked.  Various data were collected and analysed during the study period.  Findings revealed that there was a marked improvement in both reading (an increase of at least two levels) and writing abilities at both the micro and the macro levels of text.  These results suggest that the R2L approach, as a reading intervention, can contribute towards the improvement of the academic literacy levels of disadvantaged students at tertiary level.

Author Biographies

Rosemary Wildsmith-Cromarty
Rosemary Wildsmith-Cromarty is Professor of Applied Language Studies in the School of Arts, University of KwaZulu-Natal. She has published widely on multilingualism, reading and the development and promotion of African languages. She is a member of the English National Language Body and KwaZulu-Natal Provincial Language Committee.  E-mail address:
Kellie Steinke
Kellie Steinke is a lecturer in English Language Development in the School of Arts, University of KwaZulu-Natal. She holds an MA degree in Applied Language Studies and has a strong interest in the application of the ‘Read to Learn’ pedagogy at tertiary level.