Implementing a bilingual extensive reading programme in the Foundation Phase: Theory and practice

Sibhekinkosi Anna Nkomo


A bilingual extensive reading programme (ERP) was implemented in two primary schools in Grahamstown with all the learners who were in grade 3 in 2015. The ERP was a means of providing learners with access to appropriate reading resources and affording learners with opportunities to read books chosen by them in a social learning environment. This paper offers a detailed description of theories underpinning the design and implementation of the reading programme. It also offers a discussion of practically implementing, managing and sustaining the programme. I used cultural historical activity theory (CHAT) as my theoretical framework. I focused on the concepts of formative intervention and expansive learning in implementing the reading programme. Throughout the research process, data were collected through qualitative methods, which included videoing, observation, document analysis, questionnaire, learners’ and my own reflective journals and informal talks with the participants. The results of this study show that a carefully planned reading programme, tailored for each participant’s needs, can have positive benefits on the learners’ academic and social skills. Finally, I discuss lessons learnt from implementing the ERP and provide suggestions on how teachers and researchers can also implement successful reading programmes of this nature.


Extensive reading programme; Foundation Phase; Formative intervention; Literacy; Cultural Historical Activity Theory

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