Die verband tussen herkenning van hoëfrekwensiewoorde en die leesvaardighede van leerders in die grondslagfase
Uys, Charmaine Cecilia
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It is of utmost importance for learners to master language in order to learn effectively at school. Problems in language development can cause learning problems that have negative results for the learner. Language consists mainly of the spoken language (listening and speaking), reading and writing. These three aspects of language form an integrated unit so that a problem with one will influence the others. Learners are initially taught in school to read and write. Learners should later be able to use acquired reading skills to learn, and acquired writing skills must be applied to reproduce that which has been learnt. If learners do not master the foregoing skills, their progress at school will be seriously handicapped. A further aggravating factor within the milieu of the South African education system is the complicated socio-political history of the country that created a large number of disadvantaged schools. A Report by the Ministerial Committee on Education in Disadvantaged Areas (2005:10, 43) emphasizes the needs and skills of learners; training, dedication and competencies of teachers; as well as the importance of instructional media in disadvantaged areas. In spite of the implementation of the National Curriculum Statement Grade R-9 (Schools) and Grade 10-12 (Schools), illiteracy is still a serious problem in South Africa. Because the basis of all reading and writing skills are laid in the Foundation Phase, it is necessary for drastic steps to be taken to ensure that learners will be able to read with comprehension in their first years at school. This research is aimed at proving the significant relationship between high frequency words and reading skills (measured by word recognition and reading comprehension) and also improving the reading skills of learners by the acquisition of high frequency words. An effort has also been made to meet the requirements of the core elements for good teaching/instruction. To achieve this objective, the focus of this study is binary. In the first phase the researcher determines if there is a significant relationship between the visual recognition of the high frequency words and reading skills (measured by visual word recognition and reading comprehension) of learners in the Foundation Phase (Grade 2). After completion of Phase 1 it was determined that there is a correlation between the visual recognition of high frequency words and the reading skills (measured by visual word recognition and reading comprehension) of learners in the Foundation Phase (Grade 2). After the successful completion of Phase 1 the focus shifts to the study of Phase 2. In Phase 2 the researcher makes a contribution to the instruction/teaching milieu and meets the requirements of the stated criteria to ensure good instruction/teaching as determined by the Report of the Ministerial Committee on Education in Disadvantaged Areas (2005:10, 43). This contribution is made through the designing of a reading instruction programme that is aimed at the improvement of reading skills (measured by visual word recognition and reading comprehension) of learners in the Foundation Phase. The focus of this Reading Instruction Programme is the acquisition of the first 100 high frequency words as they appear in Aucamp's list (1932: 79 - 80). The gathering/collection of data in both phases is characterised by the use of standardised tests. In Phase 1 use was made of descriptive statistics; Pearson's product moment correlations and Cohen's r-values; t-tests and Cohen's d-values; as well as one sample t-tests to analyse and interpret data. In Phase 2 pre- and post-tests were used. Statistical techniques used during the analysis reporting and interpretation of data in Phase 2 are descriptive statistics; Wilcoxon rank sum tests; one-way covariance analysis; Wilcoxon symmetry-tests, and Cohen's d-values. This study contributes to the education milieu when it proves that the instruction of high frequency words by means of this Reading Instruction Programme leads to the improvement of the reading skills (measured byword recognition and reading omprehension) of learners in Grade 3. The Reading Instruction Programme is based on a balanced reading approach in which the main components of reading integrated with high frequency words are instructed. This instruction is characterised among others by direct, explicit instruction; multi-sensory methods; the use of high quality instructional media; and the automatisation of high frequency words. The Reading Instruction Programme is based on the behaviouristic and cognitive learning theories as well as the transactional reading theory.
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