INTERACTIVE STORYBOOK READING AS AN INTERVENTION STRATEGY TO SUPPORT ESL LEARNERS’ READING COMPREHENSION
Faculty of Humanities, University of the Free State (SOUTH AFRICA)
About this paper:
Conference name: 10th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
Dates: 2-4 July, 2018
Location: Palma, Spain
Abstract:Currently most of the research and interventions that aim to address the literacy challenges experienced by South African learners are focused on pre-school and foundation phase learners. However, at this stage, a pressing need is the low literacy levels of a large group of learners in the intermediate phase (i.e. Grades 4 to 6). Apart from the fact that Grade 4 learners have to adjust to additional learning areas, they also have to get use to different educators for the different subject/learning areas. The numerous challenges ESL learners experience were highlighted by the results of several literacy surveys and tests, which demonstrated that our learners’ literacy abilities are far below standard and very weak compared to other international countries. From the above, the need for urgent intervention to support the poor literacy skills of ESL learners in our country is further underscored by research which confirms how disadvantaged ESL learners are, and how they struggle to reach their full potential due to, among others, the absence of quality education in their mother tongue and in English. Emanating from the above, the main aim of this research is to determine the value of interactive storybook reading as an intervention strategy to support the reading comprehension of ESL learners. Following a quasi-experimental pre-test/post-test research design, ESL learners (N=85) were purposively drawn from schools in the Gauteng Province of South Africa to take part in this study. The results of the experimental design are promising and show a significant improvement in the mean scores of the learners in the experimental group. Moreover, the results show the value of interactive storybook reading in creating responsive literacy environments to develop the literacy skills of ESL learners.
Keywords: ESL learners, reading comprehension, interactive story book reading.