IOE - Faculty of Education and Society


Enabling Schools Toolkit

A manual for schools and their communities to help creating a collaborative school environment which nurtures 6- to 9-year-old learners’ enjoyment of reading.

Why was the Enabling Schools Toolkit manual developed?

The official "learning poverty" data from the World Bank and UNESCO show that more than half of children in low- and middle-income countries are unable to read and understand a simple text by age 10.

The COVID-19 pandemic has disproportionately exacerbated this learning crisis and the impact on Africa is particularly hard, with sub-Saharan Africa accounting for 40% of children at risk of falling victim to a life-long break on their future potential. The severity of the problem is far worse in rural primary schools where structural, social, and economic disadvantage challenges children’s access to quality education.

To make good rural primary schools even better, the Enabling Schools Toolkit provides step-by-step guidance on how school leaders, teachers and community members work together to build and foster a "reading for enjoyment" culture that enables children to learn better, feel happier and be healthier.

This is a whole-school intervention, led and coordinated by an Enabling School Committee (ESC) comprising of school leaders, teachers (of the Foundational Phase), and school-community members [Community Reading Champions (CRCs) and fieldworkers] in each of the participating schools.

The overarching aim of the Enabling Schools Toolkit is to strengthen the schools’ capacity to make use of available human, technical and social resources within and outside the school gate as enabling resources for better pupil learning and health outcomes. More specifically, it aims to:

  1. Strengthen school leadership teams.
  2. Enable school leaders to harness the skills and commitment of teachers and community members to develop a “reading for enjoyment” culture for learners.
  3. Embed a “reading for enjoyment” culture in school that improves the learning motivation and outcomes of young learners and enables them to enjoy a happier, healthier, and more confident schooling experience.
Who are involved?

School leaders, teachers, and CRCs come together to ensure that learners are supported by a committed team who brings together visionary leadership, expert teaching practices, and community values, identity, and aspirations.

How does the Enabling Schools Toolkit work?

The toolkit presents a four-step intervention process that helps schools and their communities to create a collaborative school environment which nurtures 6- to 9-year-old learners’ enjoyment of reading.

Such an environment develops the values and skills required for children to learn better, feel happier and stay healthier.

Step 1

  • Introductory meeting Leadership consultation Establishing Enabling Schools Committee (ESC).

Step 2

  • Centralised Learning Dialogue with Principals, Teachers & CRCs Launch of Intervention.

Step 3

  • Monthly ESC meetings Centralised Learning Dialogue and Support for Reading Cycles Implementation of Reading Cycles.

Step 4

  • Final ESC meeting Celebrating the launch of a School Mini Library.
What does the Enabling Schools Toolkit entail?

We have designed an Enabling Schools Toolkit Manual which provides an overview of this whole-child education focussed intervention and detailed descriptions of the roles of school leaders, teachers, CRCs and fieldworkers.

We have also designed training manuals for centralised learning dialogue sessions for principals, Foundation Phase teachers, CRCs, and fieldworkers respectively.

Enabling Schools Toolkit manual

The manual consists of three parts:

Part A

Provides an overview of the Enabling Schools Toolkit:

Part B

Provides an overview of school leaders’ roles and activities, focusing on how they collaborate and support teachers and CRCs:

Part C

Introduces the three phases of the "Reading Cycle" and provides an overview of teachers’ and CRCs’ roles and activities:

  1. Reading Cycles for the Foundation Phase of Primary Schools - Summary (pdf)
  2. Reading Cycles for the Foundation Phase of Primary Schools (pdf) 
  3. Reading books

Learner generated storybooks - including Grade R, 1, 2 and 3 in both English and Setswana.

Family and Community