Xhosa-speaking learners reading comprehension in English first additional language : a reading intervention at a township high school

Matthews, Mona Magda (2014-04)

Thesis (MEd)--Stellenbosch University, 2014.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: This study focuses on the effect of a reading strategy instruction research intervention on Grade 8 isiXhosa-speaking learners‘ comprehension of English reading texts at a township high school. Throughout the years, South Africans have become increasingly aware of the poor literacy levels of the learners. Results from National Assessment Studies e.g., Annual National Assessments and Systemic Evaluation Assessment, performed annually by the Department of Education, as well as International Assessment Studies e.g., Southern African Consortium for Monitoring Educational Quality (SACMEQ III, 2007 and Progress in International Reading Literacy Study (PIRLS 2006), confirm that our learners cannot read for meaning and therefore reading comprehension, is a severe concern. The Curriculum and Assessment Policy Statement (CAPS, 2011) places reading under three phases (pre-reading, reading and post-reading), however, it fails to place explicit focus on training teachers to instruct reading comprehension. With English becoming increasingly the language of instruction for non-English first language speakers (as in the case of the isiXhosa-speaking learners at the research school), there is a growing need to provide learners with techniques that will equip them to construct meaning from texts. This study, therefore, addresses the need for reading comprehension through the use of pre-selected, research-based reading strategies, that can be taught to the learners to improve their meaning-making efforts during the reading process. The reading strategies together with selected reading instruction activities aim to provide learners and teachers alike with sufficient guidance for implementing reading strategies and in the case of teachers, to encourage a sustained change in their comprehension instruction. This study applies a mixed-method methodology for gathering both quantitative and qualitative data. The purpose of the quantitative data is firstly to provide baseline data of reading-related abilities for learners before the implementation of the intervention, and secondly, to provide comparative data of strategy transfer after the intervention. The qualitative data is gathered through observations of the implementation of the reading strategies during the intervention, participants‘ journals and through samples of participants‘ work. The data aim to provide rich, in-depth data about how the participants in the research took on reading strategy instruction and the factors that influenced them. This study identified a number of issues: [1] participants‘ understanding of the content of the presented English reading texts during the intervention, [2] participants‘ low literacy levels, [3] participants‘ uptake of the concept of dealing with the different strategies while engaging with a text and [4] the school as a research site that affect reading strategy instruction to Grade 8 isiXhosa-speaking learners in a multilingual environment, but also highlighted the importance of continued implementation of reading instruction as crucial to its success. The findings of this study created a platform for teachers to instruct reading comprehension in different content subjects and provide learners with a selection of reading strategies that they can apply in making meaning of texts they encounter in different subject areas.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Die studie fokus op die uitwerking van 'n leesstrategie onderrigintervensie wat onderrig word aan Graad 8 isiXhosa-sprekende leerders ter verbetering van hulle begrip van Engelse tekste by 'n plaaslike hoërskool. Deur die jare het Suid Afrikaners al hoe meer bewus geword van die kommerwekkende lae geletterdheidsvlakke van die leerders. Resultate van nasionale evaluering studies, byvoorbeeld, die Jaarlikse Nasionale Assessering en Sistemiese Evalueringtoetse, wat jaarliks uitgevoer word deur die Departement van Onderwys, asook internasionale evaluering studies, byvoorbeeld, Suidelike Afrikaanse Konsortium vir Monitering Opvoedkundige Kwaliteit (SACMEQ III, 2007) en Progressie in Internasionale Lees Geletterdheidstudie (PIRLS, 2006), bevestig dat ons leerders nie sinvol kan lees nie en derhalwe het hulle bevind dat leesbegrip 'n ernstige bron van kommer is. Die Kurrikulum en Assessering Beleidsverklaring (KABV, 2011), plaas lees onder drie fases (voor-lees, lees en na-lees), maar dit laat na om eksplisiete fokus te plaas op die opleiding van onderwysers om leesbegrip te onderrig. Met Engels wat toenemend die taal van onderrig vir nie-Engelssprekende eerstetaalleerders word (soos in die geval van isiXhosa-sprekende leerders by die navorsingskool), is daar 'n toenemende behoefte om leerders toe te rus met tegnieke om betekenis uit tekste te skep. Hierdie studie maak gebruik van voorafgeselekteerde, navorsingsgebaseerde leesstrategieë waarin leerders onderrig kan word ter verbetering van hulle pogings om betekenis te maak tydens die leesproses. Beide die leesstrategieë en geselekteerde leesonderrigaktiwiteite poog daarin om voldoende leiding te verskaf aan leerders sowel as onderwysers om die leesstrategieë te implementeer. Dit poog ook verder om volgehoue verandering in leesbegrip onderrig by onderwysers aan te moedig. Die studie maak gebruik van 'n gemengde-metode metodologie vir die insameling van kwantitatiewe en kwalitatiewe data. Die doel van die kwantitatiewe data is eerstens om basisdata oor leesverwante vermoëns van leerders vóór die implementering van die intervensie te verskaf, en tweedens dien dit as vergelykbare data van strategie metingsoordrag ná die intervensie. Die kwalitatiewe data is versamel deur waarnemings gedurende die implementering van leesstrategieë tydens die intervensie, dagboek- inskrywings van navorsingsleerders asook voorbeelde van leerders se werk. Die data verskaf ryk, diepgaande data oor die manier waarop die deelnemers die onderrig van leesstrategieë aangeneem het en die faktore wat hulle beïnvloed het. Die studie het 'n aantal kwessies: [1] deelnemers se begrip van die inhoud van Engelse leestekste gedurende die intervensie, [2] deelnemers se lae geletterheidsvlakke, [3] aanvaarding van leesstrategie-onderrig deur die leerders en [4] die skool as navorsingsplek identifiseer wat leesstrategieonderrig aan Graad 8 isiXhosa-sprekende leerders in 'n meertalige omgewing beïnvloed, maar terselfdertyd het dit die belangrikheid van volgehoue implementering van leesonderrig beklemtoon as onontbeerlik vir die sukses daarvan. Die bevindings van die studie het 'n platform daargestel vir onderwysers om leesbegrip in verskillende inhoudsvakke te onderrig, asook 'n seleksie van leesstrategieë wat leerders kan toepas in hulle poging om betekenis te maak van tekste waarmee hulle in verskillende vakinhoude te doen kry.

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