Picture: WAMSLER/123RF
Picture: WAMSLER/123RF

Oxford University Press SA has launched The Brand-New Second Edition of the Oxford First Bilingual Dictionary‚ available in English‚ isiZulu‚ isiXhosa‚ Afrikaans‚ Sesotho sa Leboa‚ Setswana and Sesotho in response to weak language skills and lack of sufficient vocabulary for pupils from grades 1 to 3.

On Monday the publishing house said almost three-quarters of SA’s “emergent literacy” pupils could not read for meaning in their home language (HL) by the end of the foundation phase.

“The main reason being their language skills are weak and they lack sufficient vocabulary and grammar to make sense of what they read.

“They face further challenges — the need to learn an additional African language at the same time‚ and for most non-English HL speakers in our multilingual society‚ English becomes the language of learning and teaching from grade 4‚” said Oxford University Press SA.

To help pupils to become actively and critically literate and not merely learn to parrot sounds by rote‚ the national curriculum recommends selecting four themes per term to “introduce new words” and “recycle vocabulary and language structures in meaningful contexts”.

“Some of the theme or topic suggestions are [my] body‚ clothes‚ colours‚ numbers‚ food‚ animals‚ my family‚ growing things‚ the weather‚ simple greetings and farewells.”

The publishing house said the themed double-page spreads in the dictionaries supply “the basic high-frequency vocabulary children need to start talking‚ while the rich‚ full-colour illustrations offer further opportunities for vocabulary development‚ storytelling and language games.”

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