n Journal for Language Teaching = Ijenali Yekufundzisa Lulwimi = Tydskrif vir Taalonderrig - An investigation into the state of early literacy of preschool learners




As early literacy development is the foundation of reading proficiency, reading problems should cause concern for educators. Recent global reports about reading imply that large numbers of children are failing to learn to read. This phenomenon is also manifesting in South Africa. Support to learners who experience reading problems should start in the early childhood years and entails intervening in the development of early literacy. This article reflects a literature study on the development of early literacy as well as an empirical investigation which is conducted to determine the state of early literacy development of grade R learners in a number of schools. The results of the empirical investigation indicate that on average 35,9% of the participants meet the minimum criteria for early literacy development. When this average is analysed it reveals that only 16,8% of the learners possess basic early literacy competency, while 77,0% show potential for the development thereof.


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