An exploration of the potential of wordless picturebooks to encourage parent-child reading in the South African context

Le Roux, Adrie (2017-03)

Thesis (PhD)--Stellenbosch University, 2017.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: This research study focused on the influence of a participatory project in which wordless picturebooks were used in parent-child joint reading and, more generally, the development of a culture of reading in the home. The research was conducted within the South African context, in low socio-economic areas of Gauteng, and is approached from the researcher’s viewpoint as an illustrator. Using multimodal social semiotics as a theoretical departure, the researcher argues that the characteristics of wordless picturebooks can serve as motivating factors that could contribute to developing a more positive attitude to reading in South Africa. Internationally, there is a large volume of literature which advocates the use of wordless books in literacy development, yet little research exists on their use in the South African context. Furthermore, the majority of research investigating the value of book sharing has been conducted in the developed world. South Africa has a very low general reading rate, and despite a growing support for literacy development in mother tongue, there still exists a lack of indigenous language picturebooks for very young children. Many families are also simply unable to afford books. As a result, many children are not exposed to books or book sharing activities prior to entering formal school, where the focus of reading is not on reading for enjoyment. By systematically moving the reading environment from a community center or pre-school to participant homes, the main aim of this research was to determine the perceptions of the parents /primary caregivers and children that participated in the research regarding the value of utilizing wordless picturebooks. The researcher aimed go gain an understanding of how wordless picturebooks could assist in ensuring that literacy poor families are supported as a child’s first educator. The research was based on participative action research, and was conducted in three literacy poor areas of Gauteng. Qualitative data was collected by means of focus group and semi-structured individual interviews before and after participants attended a reading programme that spanned over a four to six-week period. Prior to the reading programme, a story collection workshop was hosted at two of the research sites, and the stories collected from the participants was used by the researcher to create wordless picturebooks. The use of these books were subsequently pilot tested at the third research site, whereas existing wordless picture books were used at the first two sites. An initial sample of 42 parents/primary caregivers and their pre-school child were included in the study, however low participant retention resulted in a significantly smaller sample that completed the research with only 14 parents/primary caregivers having attended all the sessions of the reading programme. It should however be noted that even though the number of participants that completed the entire programme, in other words, who attended all sessions, was low, data pertaining to the reading experience after the implementation of the programme was collected from 39 participants in total. Thematic analysis of the data was conducted, and themes that pertained to aspects of Design (as a central notion in Multiliteracies), Multimodality and participant generated content were identified. The key findings indicated that wordless picturebooks can be viewed as a valuable tool in fostering a culture of reading in the South African context. Participants reported that they were reading more at home, and that the activity was enjoyable, compared to previous reading experiences. Furthermore, the research findings highlighted factors that influence parent-child reading programmes within the context of South African, literacy poor areas. It is recommended the genre warrants more local attention and that larger-scale research studies be conducted with more diverse populations.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Hierdie studie het gefokus op die invloed van ‘n deelnemende program waarin boeke sonder woorde vir gesamentlike ouer-kind lees en, meer algemeen, vir die ontwikkeling van ‘n leeskultuur in die ouerhuis gebruik is. Die navorsing is in die Suid-Afrikaanse konteks in mindergegoede sosio-ekonomiese gebiede in Gauteng uitgevoer, gegrond op die uitgangspunt van die navorser as illustreerder. Met multimodale sosiale semiotiek as teoretiese grondslag, word aangevoer dat die kenmerke van boeke sonder woorde as motiverende faktore kan dien wat kan bydra tot die ontwikkeling van ‘n positiewer gesindheid jeens lees in Suid-Afrika. Daar bestaan ‘n groot hoeveelheid internasionale literatuur ter ondersteuning van die gebruik van boeke sonder woorde in die ontwikkeling van geletterdheid, dog bestaan daar min navorsing oor die gebruik van hierdie boeke in die Suid-Afrikaanse konteks. Voorts is die oorwig van bestaande navorsing oor die waarde van saamlees (“book sharing”) in ontwikkelde lande onderneem. In Suid-Afrika is die leesgewoonte oor die algemeen swak gevestig ten spyte van toenemende steun vir moedertaalgebaseerde geletterdheidsontwikkeling. Daar bestaan steeds ‘n gebrek aan prentboeke in die inheemse tale wat vir jong kinders geskik is. Talle gesinne kan ook nie boeke bekostig nie. Die gevolg hiervan is dat baie kinders nie aan boeke of saamlees-aktiwiteite blootgestel word alvorens hulle met met hul formele skoolopleiding begin nie, waar die fokus ook nie op lees bloot vir die genot daarvan is nie. Deur die leesomgewing stelselmatig van ‘n gemeenskapsentrum of crèche na die deelnemers se woonomgewing te verskuif, was die hoofdoel van hierdie navorsing om vas te stel wat die persepsies van ouers of primêre versorgers is van die waarde van die gebruik van boeke sonder woorde in die ouerhuis. Hierdeur is gepoog om begrip te ontwikkel vir die wyse waarop boeke sonder woorde minder-geletterde gesinne in hul taak as die kind se eerste opvoeder kan ondersteun. Die navorsing is gebaseer op aktiewe deelnemende navorsing en is onderneem in drie minder-geletterde omgewings in Gauteng. Kwalitatiewe data is by wyse van fokusgroep en individuele semi-gestruktureerde onderhoude ingesamel; voor en na die deelnemers se bywoning van ‘n leesprogram wat oor ‘n tydperk van vier tot ses weke gestrek het. ‘n Werkswinkel is voor die aanvang van die leesprogram by twee van die drie navorsingspunte aangebied waartydens stories vertel is. Die inligting wat tydens die werkwinkel verkry is, is gebruik om boeke sonder woorde te skep. Hierdie boeke is daarna by die derde navorsingspunt getoets, terwyl bestaande boeke sonder woorde by die ander twee navorsingspunte gebruik is. Die steekproef in die studie het aanvanklik uit 42 ouers/primêre versorgers en hul voorskoolse kind bestaan, maar as gevolg van ‘n hoë uitvalsyfer het ‘n veel kleiner getal deelnemers die navorsing voltooi, met slegs 14 ouers/primêre versorgers wat al die sessies in die leesprogram bygewoon het. Daar moet egter in ag geneem word dat hoewel betreklik min van die deelnemers die volle program voltooi het, dit wil sê al die sessies bygewoon het, is data oor die leeservaring na die implementering van die die program van altesaam 39 deelnemers bekom. Data is tematies ontleed en temas wat betrekking het op aspekte van Ontwerp (as ‘n sentrale tema in Multigeletterdheid), Multimodaliteit en deelnemer-gegenereerde inhoud is geïdentifiseer. Die kernbevindinge van die navorsing dui daarop dat boeke sonder woorde as ‘n waardevolle instrument kan dien om ‘n leeskultuur in die Suid-Afrikaanse konteks te bevorder. Die deelnemers het aangedui dat hulle meermale tuis lees en dat die leesaktiwiteit genotvol was vergeleke met vorige leeservarings. Voorts kan die navorsingsbevindinge faktore wat die implementering van ouer-kind leesprogramme binne die konteks van die minder-geletterde gebiede in Suid-Afrika beïnvloed, toelig. Daar word aanbeveel dat daar in die plaaslike konteks meer aandag aan dié genre gegee word en dat verdere navorsing op ‘n groter skaal en met meer diverse populasies onderneem word.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/100920
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