An individualised literacy intervention for low progress readers and writers in the foundation phase
CITATION: Swart, M. & Nathanson, R. 2011. An individualised literacy intervention for low progress readers and writers in the foundation phase. Per Linguam : a Journal of Language Learning, 27(2): 67-86, doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.5785/27-2-108.
The original publication is available at http://perlinguam.journals.ac.za
Current literacy interventions (i.e. programmes of instruction for low-progress readers and writers that are supplementary to the literacy programmes used in mainstream classrooms) implemented in most Western Cape schools reflect the use of isolated item-based literacy teaching methods. The low literacy levels in the Western Cape primary grades, however, do not indicate successful literacy learning. This article describes an individualised literacy intervention for emergent literacy learners that explored alternative, research-based methods of instruction. The intervention took shape as a comparison between low-progress learners who participated in the literacy intervention and average-progress learners who did not participate in this intervention. The aim was to accelerate the low-progress learners’ literacy learning so that they could reach the average-band performance of their classmates after 12 weeks in the intervention. Qualitative and quantitative data were gathered by means of observations of learners and assessment results obtained in a pre-test-post-test design, with the addition of a mid-test to observe learners’ literacy progress. Based on qualitative data, the intervention proved to be successful, because observations indicated positive change in the low-progress learners’ reading and writing behaviours. Given the small sample size, the overall trend in the quantitative data supported the value of the intervention and indicated a need for extending the research beyond a pilot study. Further research using larger sample sizes is thus recommended.