The value of constructive feedback during storytime

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Encourage your child to keep practising to improve their reading.(fizkes/Getty Images)
Encourage your child to keep practising to improve their reading.(fizkes/Getty Images)

Imagine a classroom filled with curious little minds.

Even though they are in the same grade, the class is not homogenous. 

The reality is that children have different learning needs depending on their personal circumstances.

In the South African context where 78% of Grade 4 children cannot read for meaning in any language, we need to rethink how we teach foundational skills such as literacy. 

The methodology of Teaching at the Right Level (TaRL) attempts to remediate learning gaps by focusing on a child’s learning needs rather than their age or grade.

This approach is central to the Reading for Meaning programme — which is part of the Zero Dropout Campaign. 

The campaign aims to halve the rate of school dropout by 2030, and focuses on providing young people with the support they need to stay in and succeed at school. 

Parents and caregivers interested in adopting the TaRL methodology at home can download Reading for Meaning stories, activities, audiobooks, guidebooks and videos on Zerodropout.co.za or via WhatsApp. 

This approach combines Storytime with play and builds a child’s confidence as a reader through constructive feedback.

When a parent or caregiver offers words of encouragement and support, the manner in which they do, it can make a difference.

Tone of voice, facial expressions, and body language contribute to fostering supportive spaces for learning and developing.

Watch the video below for an example of what this should look and sound like: 

Here are some tips for offering constructive feedback:

  • Try to always be patient with your child, especially if they are struggling. 
  • When giving feedback, start by highlighting the positive before explaining how they can do even better next time. 
  • Demonstrate by using examples so that your child understands the feedback. 
  • Encourage your child to keep practising to improve their reading.

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