LITASA is dedicated to promoting teaching and research in reading and writing at all levels in South African society. Our organisation aims to empower and help all South African citizens to be literate and able to develop to their fullest potential.

Previously known as the Reading Association of South Africa (RASA), we are now known as the Literacy Association of South Africa (LITASA). This change is in line with global trends which acknowledge that literacy is about much more than reading and writing. It encompasses many different forms of literacy including visual literacy, information literacy and digital literacy amongst others.

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The official launch of LITASA is taking place at the opening ceremony of this year’s annual conference. The possibility of a name change was raised at the AGM in 2016 and a vote showed that members were in favour of the proposal. We have spent the year busily organising the transition and we are pleased to announce we are now officially LITASA!

Our Board members have been working closely with a team of professionals to develop documents and systems to support our change from RASA to LITASA. We’ll be letting the LITASA community know about these developments in the coming months. You can also expect updates on what’s happening in your province which you can find by clicking on the maps to the right of this page. The AGM for each province will be taking place next February, so be sure to watch out for news on that.

Speaking of AGMs, the LITASA National AGM will take place on Sunday 15 October at 8.30am in the Function Hall at Unisa. We encourage anyone who is interested to join us and get involved. We value your contributions as we start this new phase of our journey. For more information, email us on info@litasa.org.za.

We would like to thank the Gauteng team for hosting such a great conference. It was a time of learning, debate and celebration. Next year’s conference will take place in the Eastern Cape. We look forward to seeing everyone again next year.

In other news, just before the conference, Executive Director of the International Literacy Association (ILA) Marcie Craig Post joined us from the US to facilitate a leadership workshop. It was attended by exco members from the various branches and covered a wide range of issues pertaining to effective management of LITASA, particularly as we transition into a ‘new’ organisation. We’re so grateful for Marcie’s support and dedication to literacy worldwide. We look forward to putting all the great ideas from the session into practise!


The Gauteng branch of LITASA is a vibrant and well-supported community of literacy specialists. We host workshops in Johannesburg and Pretoria but welcome any interested people from across the wonderful province of Gauteng to join our events. You can contact us on gauteng@litasa.org.za. We would love to hear from you!



It is our turn to host the conference this year and we hope you enjoyed your time with us. Many thanks to our amazing team for the countless hours they put in to making the conference a success.You’re a fantastic bunch!


Children's reading comprehension: From research to practice

Prof Jane Oakhill will present a workshop for everyone who wasn’t able to hear her insights at the conference. This is a highly relevant topic in our country, so we look forward to sharing her knowledge.

Comparing English literacy and language elements with those in African languages, with a special focus on phonics

Jenny Katz from the Molteno Institute for Language and Literacy presented a lively and interactive session. It looked at the structure of African languages and used English as a comparison. The audience found the session highly relevant to their work in the classroom because it helped them to identify and understand language elements and showed how these need to be taught for learners to learn to read effectively. This is timely and helpful information and we’re so grateful to Jenny for sharing with us.

Systemic assessment and the teacher: Using lexiles to determine the difficulty of texts used in the classroom

Karen Roux and Nangamso Mtsatse from the CEA at the University of Pretoria shared the fascinating work they are doing around lexiles. The lexile framework is a way to match learners with texts using a scale. It monitors a learner’s reading progress and enables teachers to measure the difficulty levels of a reading text. Karen and Nangamso helped us to understand how to apply the framework in the South African context. An enriching afternoon indeed!

Effective use of assessment data to improve teaching and learning in primary schools

Dr Mathakga Botha from the University of the Witwatersrand was our presenter for the morning. She shared information from case studies conducted in Johannesburg, in which she aimed to make sense of variations in the use of assessment data by educators, and the role of school leadership in improving teaching and learning. Her findings revealed that collaborative decision making can provide opportunities for a successful teaching and learning culture. Continuous collaboration among teachers also provides for the creation of professional learning communities. It was a stimulating session enjoyed by all.


The Gauteng branch held our annual AGM one bright Saturday morning. A report on branch activities during 2016 was given by our chairperson Carien Wilsenach. A report on our healthy financial position was also given. As it does every year, elections took place for executive committee members. Carien Wilsenach was elected as chairperson for another term and Catherine Langsford was reelected as treasurer. Nangamso Mtsatse was nominated and elected as secretary. New committee members were also elected. They include Maxine Schaefer and Helen Cronje. Welcome ladies. Here’s to a great year!