A school-based, balanced approach to early reading instruction for English additional language learners in grades one to four
Thesis (PhD (Education))--University of Stellenbosch, 2008.
Given that schooling is compulsory and that the quality of literacy instruction that children receive in the primary years lays the foundation for the rest of formal learning, management and teachers are under strong pressure to ensure the improvement of literacy in schools. This study reports on a literacy intervention directed at improving literacy instruction for seventytwo English Additional Language (EAL) learners in grades one to four. The intervention aimed to help teachers maximise teaching time through a theoretically sound approach that balanced language experience, shared and guided reading and writing, and embedded phonics and word level instruction within the context of reading and writing. In doing so, the approach breaks with the traditional position still held by many teachers that learners must first be taught to sound out letters and read words before they can be taught to read and write. Daily features of the literacy programme included whole class shared reading and small group guided reading and writing. Whereas shared reading engaged learners in lively literacy experiences on challenging texts, small group guided reading enabled teachers to match instruction and texts more closely to individual learners' needs. During shared and guided reading sessions, teachers modelled behaviours and strategies on interesting texts, interacted with learners and provided direct instruction in phonics and word level work. Once a week, planned outings and practical activities created opportunities for developing the learners' language and extending their conceptual understandings.