Carisma Nel is a Professor in the School for Human and Social Sciences for Education at the North-West University (Potchefstroom Campus). She obtained her PhD in 1992 at the age of 25. She has published more than 45 articles in accredited journals and four chapters in peer-reviewed books. She has presented more than 50 papers at national and international conferences and supervised 37 M.A./MEd and 24 PhD students. She in an Educational Linguist specialising in reading literacy from the foundation phase through to the higher education sector.
I am of the opinion that teacher preparation is the key to teaching learners to read and to learn from reading. Teachers are a crucial factor in making the difference to learner outcomes in reading literacy. The reading literacy results obtained by South African learners is evidence of the continued challenges and needs they face in order to achieve learning success. If educators understood the nature of the challenges and needs learners face (e.g., by developing reading literacy profiles) as they progress toward competence then they could better formulate interventions, craft educational materials and make recommendations that might circumvent problems or ameliorate their effects. The quality of an education system cannot exceed the quality of its teachers and the only way to improve outcomes is to improve instruction. The aim of my research is to turn teacher preparation in the domain of reading literacy on its head by moving to programmes that are fully grounded in practical learning and interwoven with academic reading content and professional courses. This aim, I believe, will be achieved by engaging in university-school-district partnerships. I am currently in the process of developing a system-wide progress monitoring assessment system for use within the South African education system.