After participation in PIRLS 2006, South Africa participated in once again in the Progress in International Reading Literacy Study (PIRLS 2011). In PIRLS 2011, the South African study assessed a Grade 5 population in an attempt to develop trends from PIRLS 2006 to PIRLS 2011. However, to assess Grade 4 learners, South Africa opted to participate in the preProgress in International Reading Literacy Study (prePIRLS) 2011, a less difficult version of PIRLS which allows developing countries to assess children’s reading comprehension with shorter texts, easier vocabulary, simpler grammar and less emphasis on higher-order reading skills. PrePIRLS is designed to test basic reading skills that are preconditions for success in PIRLS. For purposes of participating in prePIRLS 2011, South African Grade 4 learners were assessed across all 11 official languages.
The PIRLS 2011 Summary report provides an overview of the main findings of the PIRLS and prePIRLS 2011 study in South Africa. Chapter 1 provides a background and introduction to the study, while chapter 2 provides insights on reading curricula and literacy in South Africa. Chapter 3 details the research design and conceptual framework for PIRLS and prePIRLS 2011, with chapter 4 and 5 paying attention to the overall results and results by international benchmarks. Chapters 6 to 8 provides a summary of contextual background results from the home, the school, the teacher and the learners themselves on issues of reading activities at home, teaching reading and learners’ reading self-concepts, before concluding the report with Chapter 9.