Original Research

Balanced reading instruction for improving teachers’ instruction of reading comprehension to Runyankole-English bilingual children

Deborah K. Namugenyi
Reading & Writing | Vol 10, No 1 | a205 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/rw.v10i1.205 | © 2019 Deborah K. Namugenyi | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 22 April 2018 | Published: 12 December 2019

About the author(s)

Deborah K. Namugenyi, Department of Teacher Education and Development Studies, Kyambogo University, Kampala, Uganda


Background: Reading comprehension is a challenge among bilingual children. Reading comprehension difficulties are likely to be attributed to the strategies teachers use during their instruction of reading to these children.

Objectives: In light of this, the purpose of this study was to establish the effectiveness of a balanced reading instruction programme in empowering teachers with strategies for improving their instruction of reading comprehension in both the native language and English.

Method: Qualitative participatory action research was used in the design and implementation of the balanced reading instruction programme. Participants were four Grade 3 teachers as direct participants and 40 children as indirect participants in ‘NKPS’ (pseudonym) primary school, Mbarara Municipality, Uganda. Data was collected through focus group interviews, observation, document analysis, and a researcher’s reflective journal. Data was collected in accordance to the participatory action research cyclic process through which the programme was implemented.

Results: Results showed that teachers’ participation in the balanced reading instruction programme empowered them with better strategies such as phonics instruction and formulating carefully graded questions on different texts, to teach reading comprehension first in children’s native language (Runyankole) and then in English.

Conclusion: The study being action-oriented and working in collaboration with teachers in one single school offers its conclusions from the findings to be transferred to similar contexts. It is recommended that a large-scale intervention should be conducted for improving teachers’ instruction of reading comprehension to bilingual children.


Balanced reading instruction; reading comprehension; bilingual children; Runyankole; participatory action research.


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