n Mousaion - Teaching reading to English first additional language (EFAL) foundation phase learners

Special issue 2
  • ISSN : 0027-2639



This article examines the teaching of reading in an additional language (in this case, English) in the foundation phase. In the South African context, additional language acquisition is faced with many complexities. Whilst children are taught in their mother tongue in the foundation phase, English is introduced from grade 3 onwards and thereafter becomes the language of learning and teaching (LOLT). In addition, parents are free to send their children to schools of their choice. In some instances, the school that a child may attend teaches through the medium of English, which is not the home language of the child (Mgqwashu, 2007:2). This article firstly examines the unique situation that occurs in South African schools where learners in the foundation phase attend schools whose language of learning and teaching is an African language, English or Afrikaans. The foundation phase curriculum and assessment policy is examined next in order to establish the manner in which reading is expected to be taught in South African schools. The work of Krashen (1987) and Cummins (1988) on second language acquisition is then discussed against the South African scenario, together with methods of teaching reading. The research focuses on a case study of the experiences of a foundation phase teacher on teaching reading to English first additional language (EFAL) learners whose home language is an African language. The article then proposes some essential tools and skills that every foundation phase teacher should possess in order to teach reading effectively. Finally, recommendations on changes that are needed in South African foundation phase classrooms in order to promote reading, are made.

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