Securing the fort: Capturing reading pedagogy in the Foundation Phase

Kellie Steinke, Rosemary Wildsmith-Cromarty


The focus of this paper is on an instrument known as the Facilitative Orientation to Reading Teaching, or FORT, that was designed to capture how teachers’ pedagogical content knowledge (PCK) can influence literacy acquisition at Foundation Phase level.  The FORT can capture the ‘what’ and ‘how often’ of classroom practice and, when combined with qualitative data, it can provide the ‘why’ and also ascertain whether what teachers say they do when they teach is in accordance with their actual classroom practice.  The effectiveness of the instrument will be explained via specific findings from a multiple-case study undertaken with Grade 3 and 4 learners between 2015 and 2017 at two schools in the Midlands area of KwaZulu-Natal.  The study involved a total of eight teachers and their classes, while the researchers recorded a total of 34 lessons, most of which were taught in English and some in isiZulu, with class sizes ranging between 35 and 45 learners. Findings indicate that additional training alone may be insufficient to change embedded top-down and teacher-led teaching styles and that teachers may benefit more from on-going support and mentoring such as coaching.


Literacy; Reading Teaching; Pedagogy; Foundation Phase; Intermediate Phase; PCK

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

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