‘Playing school.’ An argument for peer teaching role play in home language reading practice

  • C van der Mescht
Keywords: Early literacy, Play, Narrative research, Paired reading, Learning to read.


The Foundation Phase Curriculum and Assessment Policy Statement (2010) recommends Paired Reading for teaching reading literacy in both Home Language and Additional Language classrooms. This article describes research on the reading histories of teachers enrolled in an in-service Bachelor in Education (B.Ed.) programme. Nearly one third of these teachers learned to read from other children in poor rural villages before going on to become successful readers and students. This finding challenges the notion of literacy learning in which adults are the main role models. In this article I argue firstly that play based learning is neglected in the curriculum. Secondly, I suggest that peer tutoring provides an opportunity to use child led play to encourage children to practise reading and writing at school and home, relying on play structures already known to them. I suggest therefor that play should be recommended more strongly in Foundation Phase classrooms than the Curriculum and Assessment Policy Statement presently advises.

Keywords: Early literacy, Play, Narrative research, Paired reading, Learning to read.


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eISSN: 0259-9570