Scielo RSS <![CDATA[Reading & Writing]]> vol. 13 num. 1 lang. pt <![CDATA[SciELO Logo]]> <![CDATA[<b>Learners' reading between the signs in the English second language classroom</b>]]> BACKGROUND: In South Africa, developing criticality among learners is essential for their careers in school and outside school. However, knowledge and understanding of critical literacy within the schooling context is unclear, with only patchy guidance available for teachersOBJECTIVES: An intervention project was set up to discover how community signs could be used as a pedagogical tool for teaching learners to be critical readers. The focus of the study was teaching English second language learners to use language as an instrument for creative and critical thinking.METHOD: In this 'study within a study', the learners' role has been elevated to that of researchers. As 'researchers', the learners collected community signs from around their township and conducted interviews with community members. They analysed the signs and interview transcripts using Fairclough's method of critical discourse analysis. The social semantic theory was used to anchor this study.RESULTS: The first attempt at being critical readers was the categorisation of data. Three categories that formed broad themes were observed. The learners' responses gave insight into their own 'processes' of reception and processes of production of the signs. The results suggest learners developing an ability to read signs as instantiations of township discourses.CONCLUSION: Teaching critical literacy awareness can be achieved when teachers use texts drawn from familiar contexts. The study contributes to knowledge on how unconventional texts can be used in the classroom to develop criticality among learners. <![CDATA[<b>Five Grade 7 learners' understanding of comprehension skills at a quintile 5 school in South Africa</b>]]> BACKGROUND: Research into language and reading scores show that South African learners struggle to read for meaning. Many local researchers report on the inadequate teaching training programmes. Teachers cannot teach basic comprehenion skills. OBJECTIVES: This research identifies a gap in the research and records an intervention programme designed to engage learners and develop their higher-order comprehension abilities. This research analyses responses from five learners who engaged in a variety of literacy activities to extend their zones of literacy abilities to become independent critical thinkers. METHOD: An interpretivist paradigm, within a qualitative approach, using a case study design was devised and implemented. Five struggling Grade 7 learners were purposively selected to participate in a 10-week intervention programme. Data were collected using pre-tests and post-tests and the learners' own exercise books to assess their academic performance in written comprehensions, their daily comments on their motivation charts, information from two interviews and the researchers' participant observation scheduled notes RESULTS: During the time of the intervention, all five Grade 7 learners gradually learned and began to use higher-order thinking skills. CONCLUSION: This small research project indicates that when a teacher explicitly planned and used a variety of literacy strategies to teach comprehension skills, not only did the learners enjoy the respectful discussions but this experience developed them into independent higher-order thinkers. <![CDATA[<b>Pedagogical choices to integrate theory and practice: Conceptualisation and insights for literacy teacher education</b>]]> BACKGROUND: The theory and practice divide is a persistent conundrum in teacher education. Moreover, foundation phase literacy teacher education is no exception because such graduates are expected to acquire knowledge and skills to address the challenges of the classroom. OBJECTIVES: This article focuses on the application of an integrated approach to literacy teacher education. METHOD: This conceptual article is structured to reflect how common pedagogical choices such as service learning, situated learning, reflection, and student support were used to design and enable integrated student learning experiences within teacher preparation programmes. RESULTS: By exploring the educational value of these pedagogical choices that informed the integrated approach, I developed an integration framework to inform the pedagogy of literacy education CONCLUSION AND CONTRIBUTION: The integration framework reflecting the catalytic pedagogical choices could guide teacher educators regarding the approaches to address the persistent conundrum in overcoming the theory and practice divide in teacher preparation programmes. <![CDATA[<b>Literacy matters in sustainable livelihood development among refugee adults in South Africa</b>]]> BACKGROUND: Political and economic upheavals in the current millennium globally have displaced millions of people, making cross-border and forced migration a reality. Many refugees are forced out of their countries and flee to other countries to find new languages with which they are not familiar. South Africa as a signatory to the 1954 UN Convention on refugees and stateless persons accepts refugees (asylum seekers) from all over the world. The displaced persons are mostly illiterate in English and the indigenous languages of their new settlement countries. OBJECTIVES: The study was set up to investigate the socio-economic value of literacy in the lives of refugee adults in South Africa. Hence, in this article, literacy refers to the ability to read, write, calculate, communicate and function in any language with a basic understanding in one's environment. METHOD: This ethnographic qualitative study used interviews, observations and focus group meetings to explore how literacy matters in the sustainable development of entrepreneurial activities among the refugee adults and youths in South Africa. The study is grounded in Paulo Freire's critical pedagogy theory and has some implications for adult literacy throughout the developing world where millions of adult refugees find themselves vulnerable. RESULTS: The study revealed that refugee adults learn functional literacy in English and other 11 local South African languages informally as communication skills for the survival of their small businesses and for social and economic use in their 'adopted home'. They find it difficult to get employment in the formal sector and often use their ingenuity to create their own jobs for survival and livelihoods in informal trade and entrepreneurship. CONCLUSION: The article concludes that within the public adult learning interventions by the Department of Basic Education, where literacy programmes are offered, refugees should be encouraged and supported in attending formal classes to deal with their livelihoods and small businesses for survival. <![CDATA[<b>Factors affecting Grade 6 learners' reading performance in a rural school in Maluti, South Africa</b>]]> BACKGROUND: Rural learners face severe reading challenges that are unique to their environment. The challenges include parents' low level of education, little or no parental support, lack of reading material, and parents' low socio-economic status. It is therefore important that rural education research highlights these challenges in order to help in addressing them. OBJECTIVES: The study sought to explore the factors affecting the reading performance of Grade 6 learners from the Maluti District in the Eastern Cape. METHODS: The study was qualitative in nature and a case study design was followed. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with 10 purposively selected learners. Vygotsky's sociocultural theory was used as a theoretical framework to anchor the study. Content analysis was used to analyse the data. RESULTS: The findings showed that the reading performance of learners from rural areas such as the Maluti District was affected by several factors, specifically, the low level of education of their parents, a home environment that is not conducive for after-school reading, the parents' socio-economic status, and non-availability of reading material at school and at home. CONCLUSION: Recommendations are made for appropriate interventions that seek to overcome the identified factors that hinder rural learners' reading performance. The study identified a number of contributing factors that are likely to serve as barriers to rural learners' reading performance. Knowing these factors is likely to assist teachers in making educated judgements regarding the teaching methods and the appropriate strategies to employ to help learners overcome the identified barriers to reading.