Investigating literacy development among learners with a second language as medium of education : the effects of an emergent literacy stimulation program in Grade R

Olivier, Johanna M. (2009-12)

Thesis (DPhil (General Linguistics))—University of Stellenbosch, 2009.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: Addressing the low literacy rates in South Africa poses a mountainous challenge. However, identifying children at risk for reading difficulties and providing timely and preventative intervention might be a good starting point to addressing this challenge. This study aimed at making a contribution to the existing body of literature on emergent literacy skills of learners who are educated in a second or additional language. The study investigated English Language Learners’ (ELLs) emergent literacy skills prior to entering Grade 1 and evaluated the effectiveness of an evidence-based stimulation program in the South African context. The main research question this study attempted to answer was: “What is the effect of a stimulation program for emergent literacy skills in Grade R on the development of literacy of English Language Learners in Grade 1?” In a quasiexperimental design, ELLs’ emergent literacy skills were assessed with an adapted version of the Emergent Literacy Assessment battery (Willenberg 2004) and were compared to those of English first language (L1) and of ELL control groups, both prior to and after an 8-week purpose-designed stimulation program. Results indicated that while learners showed significant improvement on six out of the eight subtests, the particular intervention program did not significantly improve ELLs’ emergent literacy skills (those pertaining to alphabet knowledge, phoneme awareness, print awareness and oral language skills, amongst others) when compared to learners in the respective control groups. When controlling for receptive language abilities, English L1 learners did not perform any better than their L2 peers on any of the eight measures of emergent literacy prior to intervention. Furthermore, upon entering Grade 1, there was no statistical significant difference in the performance of the English L1 learners and ELLs on any of the eight subtests after intervention. Possible independent variables contributing to the dearth of intervention effect included socio-economic status, learners’ L1, and teacher and classroom specific characteristics. These variables were addressed, and clinical implications for speech-language therapists with regards to assessment, intervention, service delivery and outcome measures were highlighted.

AFRIKAANS OPSOMMING: Die aanspreek van Suid-Afrika se geletterdheidsvraagstuk is ‘n reuse uitdaging. Die vroeë identifisering van kinders met ‘n hoë risiko vir leesprobleme en die verskaffing van tydige en voorkomende intervensie mag egter ‘n goeie beginpunt wees in die aanspreek van hierdie uitdaging. Hierdie studie het gepoog om ‘n bydrae te lewer tot die bestaande literatuur oor ontluikende geletterdheidsvaardighede van kinders wat in ‘n tweede of addisionele taal onderrig word. Die studie het die ontluikende geletterheidsvaardighede ondersoek van Graad R-leerders wat in Engels onderrig word, maar vir wie Engels nie hul eerste taal is nie, asook die effektiwiteit van ‘n navorsingsgebaseerde stimulasieprogram binne die Suid-Afrikaanse konteks. Die hoof navorsingsvraag van die studie was: “Wat is die effek van ‘n stimulasieprogram vir ontluikende geletterheidsvaardighede in Graad R op die ontwikkeling van geletterdheid van Engels tweede taal (T2)-leerders in Graad 1?” In ‘n kwasieksperimentele ontwerp is Engels T2-leerders se ontluikende geletterheidsvaardighede met ‘n aangepaste weergawe van die Emergent Literacy Assessment Battery (Willenberg 2004) geëvalueer, en voor en na ‘n 8-week doelgerigte stimulasieprogram vergelyk met die vaardighede van kontrolegroepe wat bestaan het uit Engels eerste taal (T1)-leerders en Engels T2-leerders onderskeidelik. Alhoewel leerders ‘n beduidende verbetering in ses van die agt subtoetse getoon het, het die spesifieke intervensieprogram nie T2-leerders in die eksperimentele groepe se ontluikende geletterdheidsvaardighede beduidend verbeter in vergelyking met leerders in die twee kontrole groepe nie (dit sluit in onder andere alfabetkennis, foneembewustheid, drukbewustheid en orale taalvaardighede). Wanneer daar vir reseptiewe taalvaardighede gekontroleer is, het die T1-leerders nie beduidend beter gevaar as hul T2-portuurgroep op enige van die agt subtoetse van ontluikende geletterdheid nie, en met toetrede tot Graad 1 was daar gevolglik geen statisties beduidende verskil tussen die T1- en T2-groepe ten opsigte van enige van die agt subtoetse nie. Moontlike onafhanklike veranderlikes wat tot hierdie gebrek aan intervensie-effek kon bydra, sluit sosio-ekonomiese status, leerders se T1 en onderwyseren klaskamer-spesifieke eienskappe in. Hierdie veranderlikes is aangespreek, en die kliniese implikasies vir spraak-taalterapeute met betrekking tot evaluasie, intervensie, dienslewering en die noukeurige meting van uitkomste is toegelig.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/1238
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