The graded readers can be used for shared, group, guided, paired and independent reading. This reading practice will develop skills such as phonic awareness, word recognition, comprehension, vocabulary and fluency. The readers provide multiple opportunities for guided practice in phonic decoding and look-and-say strategies.
Humour is an important feature of many of the stories. Several texts include facts about animals, people in the community, places in our environment, and South Africa. Stories encourage self-reflection, critical thinking and problem-solving.

Stages of reading development

Every child moves through each stage of reading development at their own pace, when he or she is ready. Children cannot be rushed or pushed through these stages. The way learners progress as readers is based on their individual ability and experience, not their age or grade level.

  • Early Emergent Vula Bula Level 1: 1-star readers
  • Early Emergent Plus Vula Bula Level 1: 2-star readers
  • Emergent Vula Bula Level 1: 3-star readers
  • Early Fluent Vula Bula Level 1: 4-star readers
  • Early Fluent Plus Vula Bula Level 1: 5-star readers
  • Fluent Vula Bula Level 3: all readers

How to use Vula Bula readers in your class

Grade 1:

It is recommended that all Grade 1 learners begin with the 1-star (*) books. At their own individual pace, they will then move on to the 2-star books, etc. Grade 1 learners who are progressing rapidly should be allowed to continue further.

Grade 2:

Most Grade 2 learners can begin with the 3-star (***) books. At their own individual pace, they will then move on to the 4-star books, etc. It may however be necessary for some Grade 2 learners to begin with the 2-star readers or even the 1-star readers if they are in need of remediation.

Grade 3:

Learners are required to read two readers per term. Each pair of readers (A and B) is at the same. It is therefore recommended that a class of 40 learners is provided with 20 copies of each reader in the pack (160 books altogether) so that every child is able to begin the year with either a 1A or 1B reader.

How to order Vula Bula graded readers hard copies

Grade 1 and 2:

You will need to order enough copies of each title so that learners can all begin at the correct level. For example:

If you have 40 children in your Grade 1 class and you are reading in isiZulu, then you only need to purchase four copies of each 1-star title. If you reading Sesotho, then you will need to purchase five copies of each 1-star title to have enough readers for everyone to begin, as there are ten titles at this level.

Grade 3: Learners are required to read two readers per term. To ensure that there are enough copies available for all learners to have access to the right resource, the following quantities are recommended as a guide:

If you have 40 children in your class you could need to purchase 20 copies x 8 readers = 160 readers plus one Model Answers Book.

A Reading Record page for each child accompanies the set of 32 Level 1 readers. The Reading Record is used to monitor the reading progress of each individual learner. Every learner must have his/her own Reading Record. This allows the child to share responsibility and take pride in their own reading development. The teacher will use the Reading Record to document whether a learner has managed to master all the stories at a particular star level. This means that the learner must be able to read all those texts fluently and with understanding. Once this is the case then the learner may progress to the next star level. Keeping an accurate record for each learner is very important as every star level builds incrementally on the phonics, sight words, vocabulary and sentence structures that have been previously introduced and practised.

The Model Answers Book contains the answers to the comprehension questions and language activities in the readers and provides exemplars for the writing activities.

The purpose of these model answers is to provide the teacher and the learners with guidelines as to the correct answers required by the comprehension questions, and language and writing activities. The model answers include both memoranda and exemplars. Obviously, each learner will answer an open question in their own way. As long as the core answer is embedded in the sentence, it is acceptable, even if the wording differs from that of the suggested model answer.

For large classes, the model answers can be photocopied and given to those learners who are able to check their own work accurately and with understanding, working independently or in pairs or groups.

There are 8 full colour A3* Big Books in the pack. Each Big Book is also available as a single unit. The Big Book stories use the same illustrations as the graded readers. The key difference is that the Big Book stories are read aloud by the teacher. These texts contain rich vocabulary and advanced language structures that are above the reading level of the learners. The graded reader texts, on the other hand, were developed specifically to practise and develop learners’ decoding and reading skills.

Each Big Book contains four read-aloud stories. The stories are enjoyable and interesting and are relevant to the children’s own lives. Learners experience the pleasure of story reading, which will help to inspire them to become lifelong readers.

Teachers should make the stories as exciting as possible by reading aloud with expression, varying inflection, tone, pitch and pace, and using different voices for different characters. Teachers should also use the full colour illustrations to create a shared reading experience that develops learners’ visual literacy and interpretation skills, prediction and inferential skills, and critical and creative thinking skills.

* A3 size is ± 30cm x 42cm

The alphabet frieze is made up of a set of full colour A5* cards that each represents a letter of the target language, together with a related picture and word. Short, simple, common words have been carefully selected to introduce the different alphabet sounds. Words are mostly phonically regular, enabling children to read them easily. The cards should be displayed in alphabetical order on the classroom wall. They can also function effectively as headings for building a word wall. If there is not enough wall space, the alphabet cards can be displayed using pegs and a washing
* A5 size is ± 15cm x 21cm

The phonics frieze is made up of a set of full colour A4* cards that each represents a digraph, trigraph or blend of the target language, together with a related picture and word. The words have been carefully selected to introduce the different multi-grapheme sounds. The card for the target sound of the phonics lesson that day should be displayed on the classroom wall, or board.
* A4 size is ± 21cm x 30cm

Ideas for activities

The alphabet cards can be used for group, pair and individual activities, for example:

  • Practise writing the target upper case letter and lower case letter.
  • Copy the word and the picture.
  • Use the word in an oral sentence with a partner.
  • Use the word in a written sentence.
  • Write another word beginning with or containing the target sound.
  • Write a short sentence about the picture, e.g. I see a red car.


There are four full colour A1 vocabulary posters in the pack. Each poster is also available as a single unit. The posters introduce core Foundation Phase themes and vocabulary words:
* A1 size is ± 60cm x 84cm


  • numbers from 1-one to 10-ten in numerals and in words
  • names of the days of the week
  • concepts of day and night

Ideas for activities

  • Learners can count to … . (Every day have a different total.)
  • Learners can count backwards from … . (Every day have a different number.)
  • Learners can do simple sums using number bonds up to 10. Learners come up and show the answer on the poster.
  • Cover the number word and/or the numeral and/or the dots. Learners say or write the missing component(s).
  • Ask: What day comes before … ? What day comes after … ? What day comes between … and … ?
  • Ask: What do you do on a … ?
  • Explain that each day is made up of one day and one night. Ask: What do you do during the day / at night?
  • Clap out syllables in words.
  • Find words with matching initial sounds.


  • names of shapes
  • names of colours
  • matching shapes to real objects in the environment

Ideas for activities

  • Ask: What kinds of things are … ? (Choose a different colour every day.) Learners can draw pictures of objects that have that specific colour.
  • Learners can cut out pictures of objects that have a specific colour from old magazines, newspapers, advertising brochures, etc.
  • Ask: What do you notice about this shape? (e.g. a square has four equal sides, a triangle has three sides, a circle is round like a ball, a rectangle has two long sides and two short sides, etc.)
  • Ask: What can you see around you that is a … shape?
  • Learners can match 2D shapes to 3D shapes (e.g. square-box, circle-ball, triangle-cone)


  • names of the months of the year
  • names of the seasons
  • words describing the weather
  • words describing temperature

Ideas for activities

  • Learners can identify the weather every day.
  • Learners can identify the temperature every day.
  • Learners should identify and learn the name of each new month. Talk about any special events that take place during that month (learners’ birthdays, public holidays, etc.).
  • Learners can draw a picture and write a label/caption/sentence showing what they like about, or like to do in each season.
  • Learners can draw and/or cut out pictures showing clothing for different seasons.
  • Discuss with learners: How do plants and trees change in the different seasons?
  • Ask: What do we like to eat and drink when it’s hot/cold?


  • names of the parts of the face
  • words describing feelings

Ideas for activities

  • Learners can draw and label their own faces.
  • Ask: How many … (body parts) do we have? (one/two/ten?)
  • Ask: What do we do with our … (body part)?
  • Ask: How do you feel today?
  • Learners can say and/or write a sentence about the girl’s expression in each picture, explaining why she feels that way.