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Design and development of Molteno's Vula Bula African language graded reading series repository

NBA designed, developed and are hosting the Vula Bula African language graded reading series repository. Vula Bula offers carefully structured graded texts for early, emergent and fluent readers in the form of beautifully illustrated stories, contextualised to the young reader’s inner world and life experiences. The books are short and simple, and contain predictable text to facilitate and encourage reading for enjoyment. Simple sentence structures and familiar vocabulary enable rapid reading progress. Clear and detailed illustrations help understanding. 

Literacy resources such as alphabet friezes, vocabulary posters and sight word lists are available in all nine official South African languages. The Level 1 reading series is currently available in all South Africa’s indigenous languages except Siswati, namely isiNdebele, isiXhosa, isiZulu, Sesotho, Sepedi, Setswana, Tshivenḓa and Xitsonga. The Level 3 reading series is currently available in seven of South Africa’s indigenous languages, namely isiXhosa, isiZulu, Sepedi, Setswana, Sesotho, Xitsonga and Tshivenḓa. The Vula Bula methodological approach takes cognisance of the agglutinative and, where applicable, conjunctive nature of each African language so that the texts are based on the specific orthographical building blocks of each language.

The Vula Bula resources make learning to read in African languages easy! Vula Bula is the first graded reading programme in African languages where progression from level to level is based on the phonics of each language. The name Vula Bula connects with all our African languages: 

  • Vula means ‘open’ in isiXhosa, isiZulu, isiNdebele, Siswati and Tshivenḓa. 
  • Bula means ‘open’ in Setswana, Sesotho and Sepedi. Vula also means ‘speak’ in Xitsonga. By opening our books, we hope that children will aspire to read, write, and express their thoughts and feelings, while at the same time open their minds to the pleasure of books and lifelong learning.
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Project Website
Molteno Institute for Language and Literacies
Developing, supporting and promoting the use of Open Education Resources (OER)
Harnessing the use of open-source and proprietary ICT systems to develop online portals, specialising particularly in content development and management services