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Reading & Writing

On-line version ISSN 2308-1422
Print version ISSN 2079-8245

Abstract

FATYELA, Vuyokazi; CONDY, Janet; MEDA, Lawrence  and  PHILLIPS, Heather. Improving higher-order comprehension skills of Grade 3 learners in a second language at a quintile 2 school, in Cape Town, South Africa. Reading & Writing [online]. 2021, vol.12, n.1, pp.1-10. ISSN 2308-1422.  http://dx.doi.org/10.4102/rw.v12i1.312.

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.

Keywords : critical thinking; curriculum; Foundation Phase; higher-order thinking skills; Home Language.

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