Original Research

The benefits of an extensive reading programme implemented in two Foundation Phase classrooms in the Eastern Cape, South Africa

Sibhekinkosi A. Nkomo
Reading & Writing | Vol 12, No 1 | a290 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/rw.v12i1.290 | © 2021 Sibhekinkosi A. Nkomo | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 13 July 2020 | Published: 06 April 2021

About the author(s)

Sibhekinkosi A. Nkomo, Foundation Studies Division, Faculty of Humanities, Witwatersrand University, Witwatersrand, South Africa


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Abstract

Background: This article reports on a responsive extensive reading programme (ERP), involving Grade 3 learners at two primary schools in the Eastern Cape over a duration of 20 weeks.

Objectives: The sociocultural perspective of learning guided the implementation of the ERP which aimed at providing learners with opportunities to read books for pleasure in their preferred language.

Method: Learners had a choice to talk about their reading in isiXhosa, their home language, or English, which is their first additional language. In supporting the long-term goal of being bilingual, learners were encouraged to see themselves as emergent bilinguals who have reasons to use both languages as young scholars and in future.

Results: Data collected through a post-intervention questionnaire, learners’ reading logs and observations illuminated interesting findings which show that learners benefited from the ERP.

Conclusion: The benefits of participating in the ERP were observed in the learners’ acquisition of new knowledge (cognitive benefits), transformation in their attitude towards reading (affective benefits), and they began to take agency of their reading (social benefits).

Contribution: This study demonstrates the cognitive, affective, and social benefits of introducing learners to reading for pleasure as early as in the Foundation Phase.


Keywords

literacy; extensive reading; early reading; Foundation Phase; Eastern Cape.

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