A Beginner’s Guide to Teaching Reading in the CAPS Foundation Phase


Reading is a fundamental academic skill and a key component of lifelong learning and success. As a teacher in South Africa’s Foundation Phase, you play a critical role in helping young learners develop strong reading skills. In this beginner’s guide, we’ll explore some essential strategies for teaching reading in the CAPS Foundation Phase curriculum.

Preparing for Reading Instruction

Before you start teaching reading, assessing your learners’ literacy levels and needs is essential. You can use various tools, including standardized tests and informal assessments, to identify areas where learners need extra support. You should also create a literacy-rich classroom environment that includes a variety of books, posters, and other reading materials.

Consider the learners’ interests, age, and reading level when selecting reading materials. In the Foundation Phase, it’s essential to provide a mix of fiction and nonfiction texts covering various topics and genres.

Teaching Phonics and Phonemic Awareness

Phonics and phonemic awareness are critical components of early reading instruction. Phonemic awareness involves hearing and manipulating individual sounds in words, while phonics involves connecting sounds and letters.

Many practical strategies for teaching phonics and phonemic awareness in the Foundation Phase include using letter-sound cards, singing songs and rhymes, and playing word games. You can also use decodable texts, which are designed to help learners practice phonics skills and build reading fluency.

Teaching Vocabulary and Comprehension

Vocabulary and comprehension instruction is also crucial for developing strong reading skills. Vocabulary instruction involves introducing new words and helping learners understand their meanings, while comprehension instruction involves teaching learners how to understand and analyze what they’re reading.

Many practical strategies for teaching vocabulary and comprehension in the Foundation Phase include using graphic organizers, asking open-ended questions, and providing opportunities for discussion and reflection. You can also use picture books and other visual aids to help learners make connections between words and concepts.

Differentiated Instruction and Assessment

In the Foundation Phase, it’s vital to use differentiated instruction and assessment strategies to meet the diverse needs of your learners. Differentiated instruction involves tailoring your teaching methods to meet individual learners’ learning styles and needs, while differentiated assessment involves using various assessment tools to measure learners progress.

Some effective differentiated instruction and assessment strategies for teaching reading in the Foundation Phase include using levelled reading materials, scaffolding support, and formative assessment tools like exit tickets and learners self-assessment.


Teaching reading in the CAPS Foundation Phase curriculum requires a comprehensive approach focusing on phonics and phonemic awareness, vocabulary, comprehension, and differentiated instruction and assessment. By creating a literacy-rich classroom environment, selecting appropriate reading materials, and using effective teaching strategies, you can help your learners develop strong reading skills that will serve them well throughout their academic and personal lives. Remember to continue your professional development in reading instruction to stay up-to-date with the latest research and best practices.