Improving Early Grade Reading In South Africa
Early grade reading results from international assessments of reading and literacy, show that the majority of children in grades four, five and six in South Africa have not yet learned to read with comprehension. By comparing the effectiveness of centralised teacher training, specialist on-site instructional coaching and parental involvement in literacy, the study addresses serious efforts in South Africa on how policy can support attainment of reading skills in grades one and two of the Foundation Phase in the least resourced schools.
This evaluation compared the effectiveness of three intervention models involving structured lesson plans and learning-teaching support material to improve home language reading outcomes for early grade learners.
This study addressed the following research questions:
- Is centralised training combined with structured lesson plans sufficient to change teaching practice and ultimately improve pupils' early grade acquisition of reading skills? Or is it more cost-effective to have a reading coach who visits schools, observes teaching practice and provides feedback?
- Which method's training or coaches is more cost-effective, and for which types of learning outcomes?
- Can training and motivating of parents be a more cost-effective alternative to improving early grade reading?
- Does this depend on the characteristics of the pupil, school, community or teacher?