Scielo RSS <![CDATA[Reading & Writing]]> vol. 12 num. 1 lang. en <![CDATA[SciELO Logo]]> <![CDATA[<b>Information and communication technology reading interventions: A scoping review</b>]]> BACKGROUND: Information and communication technology (ICT) reading interventions can help children with reading difficulties, especially those in resource-constrained environments who otherwise might not have support. OBJECTIVES: 1) Provide an overview of ICT reading interventions used globally with primary school children. (2) Provide further information on the subset of studies conducted in majority world countries, describing the interventions used, their impact on reading and challenges faced. METHOD: A scoping review was used with a search strategy that yielded a total of 49 studies for inclusion in the main review (Objective 1), and a subset of five studies undertaken in the majority world (Objective 2). RESULTS: Most published studies (93.88%, 46 studies) demonstrated positive outcomes of ICT reading interventions on learners' reading. Well-researched programmes with demonstrated effectiveness included GraphoGame, ABRACADABRA, Reading RACES and Chassymo. Only five studies (10.2%) were conducted in the majority world, but all reported in this subset described positive literacy gains through ABRACADABRA and GraphoGame. CONCLUSION: There is a growing evidence base of ICT reading interventions that could be helpful in addressing the reading crisis in South Africa. Programmes such as ABRACADABRA and GraphoGame demonstrate effectiveness in a variety of contexts and may have a role to play in addressing the reading challenges faced by children in South Africa. CONTRIBUTION: The review highlighted evidence supporting the use of ICT reading interventions. Evidence of such approaches in South Africa (and other majority world countries) remains limited and requires further evaluation of both existing and innovative, locally developed interventions <![CDATA[<b>The benefits of an extensive reading programme implemented in two Foundation Phase classrooms in the Eastern Cape, South Africa</b>]]> BACKGROUND: This article reports on a responsive extensive reading programme (ERP), involving Grade 3 learners at two primary schools in the Eastern Cape over a duration of 20 weeks. OBJECTIVES: The sociocultural perspective of learning guided the implementation of the ERP which aimed at providing learners with opportunities to read books for pleasure in their preferred language. METHOD: Learners had a choice to talk about their reading in isiXhosa, their home language, or English, which is their first additional language. In supporting the long-term goal of being bilingual, learners were encouraged to see themselves as emergent bilinguals who have reasons to use both languages as young scholars and in future. RESULTS: Data collected through a post-intervention questionnaire, learners' reading logs and observations illuminated interesting findings which show that learners benefited from the ERP. CONCLUSION: The benefits of participating in the ERP were observed in the learners' acquisition of new knowledge (cognitive benefits), transformation in their attitude towards reading (affective benefits), and they began to take agency of their reading (social benefits). CONTRIBUTION: This study demonstrates the cognitive, affective, and social benefits of introducing learners to reading for pleasure as early as in the Foundation Phase. <![CDATA[<b>Advancing text prediction skills through translanguaging</b>]]> BACKGROUND: Making predictions on how events might unfold when reading a text improves comprehension. Research on reading and making predictions tends to focus predominantly on the effects of making predictions as a reading strategy in monolingual contexts. So far, there is a paucity of research on the effects of reading development strategies in which learners are encouraged to read a text and express their predictions on how the events might unfold in the text in a different language from the one the text is written inOBJECTIVES: This study investigated the possible effects of translanguaging techniques on the readers' ability to make plausible predictions of events when reading textsMETHOD: The study adopted a Solomon Four quasi-experimental design in which a total of 215 Grade 4 bilingual isiXhosa and English learners from different primary schools participatedRESULTS: The findings demonstrated that translanguaging techniques, in which a tapestry of the learners' linguistic repertoire is used simultaneously in one reading lesson, have a positive impact on the learners' ability to make plausible predictions on how the events might unfold when reading texts. The findings also indicated that accurate text prediction is determined by a number of factors, which include the reader's familiarity with the content, the context of the reading text and the vocabulary used thereinCONCLUSION: For text prediction as a reading development strategy to be successful, the text and the reader's knowledge of the word, the world and the language ought to match. Otherwise, text prediction may be hampered due to lack of the reader's relevant background and linguistic knowledgeCONTRIBUTION: This article fills out the research gap that has been caused by limited research on the effects of translanguaging on the text prediction abilities of multilingual learners. It contributes significantly to the body of research by providing some of the strategies that multilingual learners can utilise to enhance their reading comprehension <![CDATA[<b>Content analysis of levels and aspects of comprehension in West African senior secondary school examination</b>]]> BACKGROUND: Reading is one of the most complex and exclusively human mental activities. It is a foundational skill for all learning, whether at primary, secondary or tertiary levels. If students do not master effective strategies for reading, they may not be successful independent learners. The ability to comprehend written texts and answer relevant questions on them is a major feature that is examined in comprehension in the West African Senior Secondary School Certificate ExaminationOBJECTIVE: This study was directed at analysing the content of the English language comprehension questions in the West African School Certificate Examination to identify the intensities of testing different aspects of comprehension so that teachers can lay emphasis on these aspects when they teach reading strategies to their studentsMETHOD: The content analytical approach was used to identify the different aspects and levels of the comprehension passages. The analysis of the content was carried out by focusing on 10 different content sub-categoriesRESULTS: The study revealed that most of the comprehension passages presented had never been used before and they were related to the students' local environment. Literal and inferential questions dominated while critical and evaluative questions were rarely askedCONCLUSION: In the light of the pedagogic importance of critical and evaluative questions, it is recommended that examiners and teachers should lay emphasis on questions that demand higher-order reasoning to prepare students for the contemporary demands of literacy. In line with higher-order questions, it is also suggested that the curriculum should be amended to encourage critical evaluative thinking among secondary school students as it is an important part of literacy and language development <![CDATA[<b>Multiple voices: Learners reflect on literature</b>]]> BACKGROUND: Much of the research in literacy focuses on what learners fail to do, especially in the early grades, but it is equally important to research successful readers. In particular learners' experiences with literature contribute to our understanding of the possibilities literary texts offer. This article focused on learners' responses to Advanced Programme (AP) English, which was an optional subject offered at an ex-Model C school, to understand how the learners had taken up these literary textsOBJECTIVES: This study explored how matric learners spoke about the literature they had studied, in their AP English, in an informal group meetingMETHODS: A qualitative case study was used to explore learners' responses to literature. A final focus group meeting at the end of their matric year provides the data for this article. The transcriptions were coded using repeated patterns for themes to explore the stances taken in relation to the literature whether efferent or aestheticRESULTS: The data showed how learners had incorporated fragments from the literature into their own utterances so that their language use echoed the literature. In addition to an efferent exam focus, the literature and AP English practices were used in both Art and Home Language English examinationsCONCLUSIONS: Learners need opportunities to talk about the multiple voices of literature in their lives. This kind of talk offers a different perspective on how literature can enrich, disrupt and extend learners' thinking about literature and themselves. This research offers a counterpoint to examination results and contributes to building a nation of readers <![CDATA[<b>Using flashcards for English second language creative writing in Grade 1</b>]]> BACKGROUND: English Second Language (ESL) learners have difficulty constructing sentences due to internalising information in their home language and thereafter translating it into English. Learners who have difficulty speaking English generally encounter problems writing it, which hampers their creative writing abilityOBJECTIVES: The purpose of the research was to identify a teaching strategy to facilitate ESL learners with creative writing. This study explored the influence of flashcards on the creative writing skills of Grade 1 ESL learners and improved the researchers' teaching practiceMETHOD: This qualitative study depicted an action research design and utilised an inductive approach to data analysis. Convenience sampling was used when selecting the participants who were 31 Grade 1 learners in a school in Pietermaritzburg. The flashcards were used during the implementation stage of the action research process as an intervention to enhance learners' creative writing skillsFINDINGS: The findings indicate that learners who participated in the study had improved in their written assessments. There were three themes identified, which included misspelt words, incorrect use of tenses and ungrammatical sentence construction. Flashcards revealed the correct sentence writing techniques by depicting sentences. Learners' written pieces were more logical and they participated actively during lessons. This enhanced the researcher's teaching practice, which catered to both visual and auditory learnersCONCLUSION: The findings suggest that the use of flashcards had a positive effect on ESL learners' creative writing skills. This encouraged participatory teaching and learning, which can be of benefit to many teachers seeking to engage learners using alternate learning styles <![CDATA[<b>Improving higher-order comprehension skills of Grade 3 learners in a second language at a quintile 2 school, in Cape Town, South Africa</b>]]> BACKGROUND: Developing higher-order comprehension skills of learners in primary schools is a challenge that faces many countries. South Africa is no exception. Primary school learners in South Africa have particularly low literacy and comprehension skills: many learners struggle to read for understanding. There is little published scholarship that focuses on developing the comprehension skills of Grade 3 learners in a second language. A lack of practical classroom knowledge in this area is what this article seeks to address. OBJECTIVES: To improve the higher-order comprehension skills of Grade 3 learners in a second language. METHOD: A qualitative approach, using a case study design, within an interpretivist paradigm was devised and deployed. Five struggling Grade 3 learners were purposively selected to participate in an intervention programme. Their parents or guardians and two current Grade 3 teachers were interviewed. Data were collected over a 10-week intervention programme. The first and last weeks were devoted to pre-testing and post-testing. The entire intervention lasted for 10 weeks. RESULTS: All the five Grade 3 learners showed significant improvements in their comprehension skills when comparing their pre-test and post-test scores. CONCLUSION: The post-test scores revealed the importance of a structured intervention programme for improving the four comprehension skills highlighted. Mediation and scaffolding in the Zone of Proximal Development were employed while concurrently developing their cognitive, social and language skills. <![CDATA[<b>Tracing the usage of the term 'culture of reading' in South Africa: A review of national government discourse (2000-2019)</b>]]> BACKGROUND: South Africa's long-standing reading crisis is well recognised. At various stages since 2000, national government has presented the inculcation of a culture of reading as a solution to this crisis. OBJECTIVES: This article critically interrogated the term 'culture of reading' as used in national government discourse with reference to basic education. By tracing the patterns of use of the term since 2000, it aimed to show the shifts and continuities in the government's understanding of the term 'culture of reading' and how this has shaped the reading landscape. METHOD: Drawn from a corpus of 331 texts, a sample of 58 texts produced by national government was analysed. Employing discourse and thematic analysis, key themes were extrapolated and their relation to reading within South Africa was explored. RESULTS: The government's call for a culture of reading occurs predominantly in response to poor literacy results and at launches of campaigns and strategies focused on addressing these results. This occurs repeatedly without clear delineation of the term or justification for recycling failed initiatives. Instead, the term acts as a rhetorical tool to obfuscate the unsuccessful implementation of reading programmes. CONCLUSION: The government's failure to clarify what constitutes a culture of reading prohibits a clear picture of its understanding of the term. The frequency with which 'culture of reading' is promoted indicates a failure to consider alternative approaches to addressing the reading crisis. CONTRIBUTION: This article highlights the need for government to re-evaluate its response to the reading crisis, taking cognisance of the South African context. <![CDATA[<b>Using role play and explicit strategy instruction to improve first-year students' academic reading proficiency</b>]]> BACKGROUND: Many first-year students find the reading of academic texts to be challenging and overwhelming. In particular, first-year students studying sociology at the South African institution where the study was conducted complain of comprehension challenges. This may be due to the presence of numerous theoretical and abstract concepts in sociology texts, which have to be unpacked in order to gain a greater understanding of social phenomena. A high level of reading proficiency is required in the reading of sociology texts; however, some students are poor readers and find it difficult to cope. OBJECTIVES: The article reports on a support programme aimed at improving first-year sociology students' academic reading proficiency. METHOD: In addition to explicit strategy instruction, which has been used by many researchers to improve reading comprehension, role play was introduced to the reading of sociology texts during tutorials in order to promote deep reading and improve comprehension. Pre-tests and post-tests, together with closed-ended and open-ended questionnaires, were used to determine the efficacy of the intervention. The tests were analysed using t-tests, and the questionnaires were analysed using descriptive statistics for the closed-ended section and content analysis for the open-ended questions. RESULTS: The findings showed that a significant number of students had improved their reading proficiency and reported both cognitive and affective benefits. CONCLUSION: Recommendations are made in relation to the use of role play in addition to explicit strategy instruction in order to maximise the improvement of students' academic reading ability.