We identify two main aims in the project. The first aim of this study project is to examine the reasons for the poor literacy performance of South African learners who have met the literacy requirements set for those who exit the secondary schooling system. The focus is on students entering the university for the first time, and this project will examine their literacy levels in relation to their socio-economic backgrounds. In order to achieve this goal, the study project will embark on a needs analysis to establish the socio-economic living conditions the students come from, the histories and social backgrounds of the schools they attended and their interests in reading and writing, both at home and at school.
The second aim of this study project is for the researcher to observe and participate, through the process of ethnographic monitoring (action research), in students’ practices of reading, writing and other modes of literacy they engage with in the educational context. In this regard, the researcher, through ethnographic monitoring, will explore multimodal and multilingual approaches to literacy by participating in and observing in the effects of extra-curricular activities like debating and a reading quiz on students’ literacy skills over a period of two years.