n Mousaion - Attending to the classroom practice of a group of Grade 1 teachers to address reading problems

Volume 29, Issue 3
  • ISSN : 0027-2639



Research and tests have revealed repeatedly that reading in primary schools in South Africa is in a shambles. Therefore, it is essential that teachers, especially Grade 1 teachers, should be consulted about the teaching of reading because it is at this level that reading is taught formally for the first time. This article aims to describe the teaching of reading in Grade 1 and the teachers' classroom practice for enhancing the teaching of reading and addressing reading problems.

This research project is based on quantitative and qualitative data obtained from Grade 1 teachers across South Africa. The quantitative data provided information about the teachers' training; the number of learners in the class; the availability of reading materials; and the language of learning and teaching. The qualitative data provided feedback about the problems that some young learners face in learning to read and what some teachers do to address these problems. The research project provided an array of Grade 1 classroom reading situations, including best reading practices of the teachers.
From the research it became evident that the majority of the teachers who came from functional schools were well trained and that they used a combination of the whole word and the phonics approach to teach reading. There was, however, a group of teachers who did not make use of the language experience approach and the Teaching Handwriting Reading and Spelling Skills (THRASS) programme. The research also revealed excellent reading practices to enhance the teaching of reading and to address reading problems. Some teachers also reported on the way in which they attend to the reading of learners who are not taught in their home language.
Recommendations about the use of all reading methods, the language of learning and teaching, the use of websites for children's literature, parental involvement and perceptual training are made. The possibility of a newsletter or a website for the teaching of reading is also mentioned.

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