Original Research

Five Grade 7 learners’ understanding of comprehension skills at a quintile 5 school in South Africa

Nomonde Ntshikila, Janet L. Condy, Lawrence Meda, Heather N. Phillips
Reading & Writing | Vol 13, No 1 | a324 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/rw.v13i1.324 | © 2022 Nomonde Ntshikila, Janet L. Condy, Lawrence Meda, Heather N. Phillips | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 24 June 2021 | Published: 24 February 2022

About the author(s)

Nomonde Ntshikila, Research Department, Faculty of Education, Cape Peninsula University of Technology, Cape Town, South Africa
Janet L. Condy, Research Department, Faculty of Education, Cape Peninsula University of Technology, Cape Town, South Africa
Lawrence Meda, Research Department, Faculty of Education, Zayed University, Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Heather N. Phillips, Research Department, Faculty of Education, Cape Peninsula University of Technology, Cape Town, South Africa


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Abstract

Background: Research into language and reading scores show that South African learners struggle to read for meaning. Many local researchers report on the inadequate teaching training programmes. Teachers cannot teach basic comprehenion skills.

Objectives: This research identifies a gap in the research and records an intervention programme designed to engage learners and develop their higher-order comprehension abilities. This research analyses responses from five learners who engaged in a variety of literacy activities to extend their zones of literacy abilities to become independent critical thinkers.

Method: An interpretivist paradigm, within a qualitative approach, using a case study design was devised and implemented. Five struggling Grade 7 learners were purposively selected to participate in a 10-week intervention programme. Data were collected using pre-tests and post-tests and the learners’ own exercise books to assess their academic performance in written comprehensions, their daily comments on their motivation charts, information from two interviews and the researchers’ participant observation scheduled notes.

Results: During the time of the intervention, all five Grade 7 learners gradually learned and began to use higher-order thinking skills.

Conclusion: This small research project indicates that when a teacher explicitly planned and used a variety of literacy strategies to teach comprehension skills, not only did the learners enjoy the respectful discussions but this experience developed them into independent higher-order thinkers.


Keywords

cognitive thinking; critical thinking; qualitative research; zones of ability; higher-order thinking skills; intervention programme

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