Original Research

Investigating the interpretation and implementation of policies that guide the teaching of reading in the Foundation Phase

Ann-May Marais, Elsabé Wessels
Reading & Writing | Vol 11, No 1 | a277 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/rw.v11i1.277 | © 2020 Ann-May Marais, Elsabé Wessels | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 12 December 2019 | Published: 27 November 2020

About the author(s)

Ann-May Marais, Department of Higher Education, Faculty of Language Education, North-West University, Mahikeng, South Africa
Elsabé Wessels, Department of Higher Education, Faculty of Language Education, North-West University, Mahikeng, South Africa


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Abstract

Background: There is growing international awareness of the dividends of early reading success and the consequences of early reading failure. Many studies have shown that the educational achievement of South African learners is unacceptably poor. There are shortcomings in the curriculum for English home language (EHL) which could be the reason for educators’ uncertainties and frustration with the teaching of reading.

Objectives: To identify policies that guide the teaching of reading and to investigate the management of their interpretation and implementation.

Method: A qualitative case study design was employed, underpinned by the sense-making theory which was used as a theoretical framework. Three primary schools in the Lichtenburg circuit were selected as study sites. Participants were selected purposively and data generation methods included document analysis, observations and interviews. Inductive data analysis was applied through the identification of patterns, categories and themes.

Results: The results indicate that the EHL curriculum document is the only policy document that teachers in this study used as a guideline for the teaching of reading in the Foundation Phase. However, this document lacks explicit guidance on how reading should be taught.

Conclusion: The main policy that guides the teaching of reading in the Foundation Phase is the EHL curriculum. However, participants do not always understand the stipulations of this document and make partial use of the guidelines because they do not know how to interpret them. The curriculum lacks step-by-step guidelines on teaching activities for reading. Thus, we suggest that professional development should be based on the needs of the educators.


Keywords

Curriculum and Assessment Policy Statement; English Home Language curriculum; interpretation; implementation; policy; reading policies; reading; teaching reading; Foundation Phase.

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