The Reading Grannies

Modelling How to Teach Reading


  • Sandra Lilian Stewart University of Johannesburg
  • Maropeng Modiba University of Johannesburg



literacy intervention, English, primary school, modelling reading


This paper reports on an intervention intended to develop literacy amongst learners in a rural, state farm school situated in Kwa-Zulu Natal (KZN), South Africa. The principal and teachers in the school invited a group of volunteers, who named themselves the “Reading Grannies” into the school to model how to read an English text. The assumption was that listening to English read by first-language (L1) speakers, would expose learners to, for example, pronunciation, tone and expression and convey meaning better. In addition, both teachers and learners who were non-primary English speakers would develop an ear for the language and this would, in turn, help teachers to improve their teaching of English.


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Author Biographies

Sandra Lilian Stewart, University of Johannesburg

SANDRA STEWART, PhD, is a research associate in the faculty of education, University of Johannesburg. Her main research interests in teachers' professional development, teaching of English as a second language and early grade reading interventions are a result of her lengthy experience of teaching at primary school level as well as lecturing pre-set teachers at the university level. Published book chapters, conference proceedings, and several academic journal papers focus on classroom teaching, curriculum policy, and teacher development. Email:

Maropeng Modiba, University of Johannesburg

MAROPENG MODIBA, PhD, is a professor in the faculty of education, University of Johannesburg. Her major research interests lie in two related areas; namely, teacher education and curriculum literacy captured by studying classroom instructional practices. The research is interdisciplinary and at the interface of school subject-content, cultural and education domains of inquiry.  She has published on classroom teaching, education and culture, teacher education policy and, in general, Sociology of Education.  Contributions are in books, book chapters, conference proceedings, and several academic journal papers. Email:


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How to Cite

Stewart, S. L., & Modiba, M. . (2019). The Reading Grannies: Modelling How to Teach Reading. Journal of Interdisciplinary Studies in Education, 8(2), 147–172.