RASA comes to town

Ready?  Set.  READ!  Home and hearth of multiple education festivals and ventures, Grahamstown was the chosen hub for the Reading Association of South Africa’s (RASA) annual conference.

The organisation’s ninth to date, the weekend’s informative festivities (including publisher displays, workshops and expert discussions) was hosted by Rhodes University.  RASA was initially founded in Cape Town in 2004 and is (in its own words) “the leading South African Literacy Organisation, promoting best practices and research in reading and writing”.  Closely affiliated with and supported by the International Reading Association (IRA), RASA is dedicated to the promotion of literacy throughout South Africa.

The organisation boasts branches in Gauteng, KwaZulu-Natal, the Eastern Cape, and the Western Cape.  With such a strong emphasis on teaching it seems fitting that the conference was held at the Rhodes University Education Department.  The programme ran from 12-14 September, and provided a stimulating weekend under the theme entitled “Reading the Change: Changing the Reading – Where are we 20 years after 1994?”

The event’s notable keynote speakers promised thought-provoking takes on the topic.  Grahamstown’s own Prof Russell Kaschula spoke – he is currently a professor of African Language Studies at Rhodes University, and an expert in applied language studies.

Wordworks founder and current director, Dr Shelley O’Carroll, had much insight to contribute.  Initially educated and trained as a remedial teacher and educational psychologist, O’Carroll has worked extensively on early literacy development.  Jennifer Graff joined from overseas, where she is a literacy lecturer and researcher at the University of Georgia.  She has worked with both learners and teachers focusing on the power of literature to transform our worldviews.

For more information, e-mail the organization at rasaconference2014@gmail.com.

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