Reading strategy instruction in grades 4 to 6 : towards a framework for implementation

Klapwijk, Nanda Maria (2011-12)

Thesis (PhD)--Stellenbosch University, 2011.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: This study focuses on the effect of a reading strategy instruction research intervention on teachers and learners in Grade 4 to 6 at a primary school in the Western Cape. Literacy levels for South African Intermediate Phase learners remain at a disturbingly low level and Systemic Evaluation Assessments performed by the Department of Education show that reading, and more specifically reading comprehension, is a serious area of concern. A closer look at the Revised National Curriculum Statement and in-service as well as pre-service teacher training courses reveals that while teachers are trained to teach reading, very little, if any, focus is placed on training them how to teach comprehension. With a growing trend towards English as language of instruction for multilingual, non-English first language learners, the need to equip learners with ways of constructing meaning from texts becomes ever more crucial. This study addresses the need for reading comprehension through the use of reading strategies – conscious tools that readers can be taught to improve their individual meaning-making efforts during the reading process. The study implements reading strategies through an intervention based on pre-selected reading strategies set within a structured teaching approach which aims to provide teachers (and learners) with adequate guidance and support for implementing reading strategies. Through a case-study design this study utilises a mixed-method methodology for gathering both quantitative and qualitative data. The quantitative data serve to provide baseline data of selected reading-related abilities for learners before the start of the intervention, and to provide comparative data for specific measurements taken before and after the intervention. The qualitative data, gathered through classroom observations, unstructured interviews and obtaining samples of learners‘ work, provide rich, in-depth data about how teachers and, to a lesser extent, learners took on reading strategy instruction, and what factors influenced them in the process. This study found that a multitude of factors affect the uptake of strategy instruction as part of everyday teaching practice, and, furthermore, that teachers and learners move through distinct phases in their uptake of reading strategy instruction. While the study highlights a number of issues that are important to reading strategy instruction in Grades 4 to 6 in South Africa, a few of the more pertinent issues are the following: (1) teachers seem to need specific basic knowledge of language and texts for effective reading strategy instruction to take place (and very little, if any, research seems to address this issue), (2) the frequency of reading strategy instruction seems crucial to its success – the more often, the better, (3) engagement with teachers over a longer period is necessary for effective change in their instructional methods to take place, and (4) the gap between research and practice (that which is taught in classrooms) remains considerable. The findings of this study, while specific to reading strategy instruction, contribute to the rapidly-growing body of knowledge on reading comprehension instruction, (particularly within a multilingual environment) and teacher development from the basis of research that is focused on changing teacher practice.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Hierdie studie fokus op die uitwerking van ‗n intervensie oor die onderrig van leesstrategieë op Graad 4 tot 6 onderwysers en leerders by ‘n Wes-Kaapse laerskool. Die geletterdheidsvlakke van Suid-Afrikaanse leerders in die Intermediêre Fase bly kommerwekkend laag, en Sistemiese Evalueringstoetse wat deur die Departement van Onderwys gedoen is, toon dat lees, en meer spesifiek leesbegrip, ‘n ernstige bron tot kommer is. Wanneer in meer detail gekyk word na die Hersiene Nasionale Kurrikulumverklaring, asook na die opleidingskursusse van diensdoenende onderwysers en onderwysstudente, blyk dit dat hoewel onderwysers geleer word hoe om lees te onderrig, daar min, indien enige, fokus geplaas word op die onderrig van leesbegrip. Met die toename in die gebruik van Engels as taal van onderrig vir meertalige, nie-Engelssprekende eerstetaal-leerders word dit al hoe meer belangrik dat leerders weet hoe om betekenis uit tekste te skep. Hierdie studie maak gebruik van leesstrategieë om die behoefte aan leesbegrip aan te spreek – leesstrategieë is metodes wat leerders kan aanleer om bewustelik toe te pas om hul individuele pogings tot betekenisskepping te verbeter. Die studie implementeer leesstrategieë d.m.v. ‘n intervensie wat van voorafgeselekteerde leesstrategieë gebruik maak en waarvan die opleiding sodanig gestruktureer is dat onderwysers (en leerders) die gepaste leiding en ondersteuning gebied word vir die implementering van leesstrategieë. Die studie gebruik ‘n gevallestudie-ontwerp tesame met ‘n ‚gemengde-metode‘ metodologie wat vir die insameling van beide kwantitatiewe en kwalitatiewe data voorsiening maak. Die kwantitatiewe data verskaf basisdata oor geselekteerde leesverwante vermoëns vir leerders voor die aanvang van die intervensie, en dien as vergelykbare data vir spesifieke metings voor en na die intervensie. Die kwalitatiewe data, wat ingesamel is deur klaskamerwaarnemings, ongestruktureerde onderhoude en voorbeelde van leerders se werk, verskaf ryk, diepgaande data oor hoe onderwysers en, tot ‘n mindere mate, leerders die onderrig van leesstrategieë aangeneem het, en watter faktore hulle in hierdie proses beïnvloed het. Hierdie studie het bevind dat ‘n verskeidenheid faktore ‘n invloed het op die aanvaarding van strategie-onderrig as deel van alledaagse onderrigpraktyk, en veral dat onderwysers en leerders deur spesifieke fases beweeg in hul aanvaarding van leesstrategie-onderrig. Hoewel die studie lig werp op verskeie belangrike kwessies vir die onderrig van leesstrategieë in Graad 4 tot 6 in Suid-Afrika, is ‘n paar van die meer pertinente kwessies die volgende: (1) dit blyk dat onderwysers spesifieke basiese kennis van taal en tekste nodig het vir effektiewe onderrig van leesstrategieë (en dat min, indien enige, navorsing skynbaar hierdie kwessie aanspreek), (2) die gereeldheid van leesstrategie-onderrig blyk kritiek tot die sukses daarvan te wees – hoe gereelder, hoe beter, (3) betrokkenheid by onderwysers oor ‗n langer tydperk is nodig om te verseker dat hulle hul onderrigpraktyk verander, en (4) die gaping tussen navorsing en realiteit (dit wat in klaskamers onderrig word) blyk steeds aansienlik te wees. Hierdie studie se bevindinge, hoewel spesifiek gerig op die onderrig van leesstrategieë, dra by tot die snelgroeiende kennisveld oor die onderrig van leesbegrip (veral in ‘n meertalige omgewing) en die ontwikkeling van onderwysers vanuit die oogpunt van wat vereis word om onderrigpratkyk te verander.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/17956
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