Original Research

The impact of poor working memory skills on a Grade 2 learner’s written and oral literacy performance

Kate Linnegar, Janet Condy, Emma McKinney
Reading & Writing | Vol 5, No 1 | a37 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/rw.v5i1.37 | © 2014 Kate Linnegar, Janet Condy, Emma McKinney | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 29 May 2013 | Published: 05 May 2014

About the author(s)

Kate Linnegar, Faculty of Education and Social Sciences, Cape Peninsula University of Technology, South Africa
Janet Condy, Faculty of Education and Social Sciences, Cape Peninsula University of Technology, South Africa, South Africa
Emma McKinney, Faculty of Education and Social Sciences, Cape Peninsula University of Technology, South Africa


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Abstract

This research examines the effects of poor working memory skills on a Grade 2 learner. Mediated learning is the theoretical framework that underpins this research project as the focus is on developing cognitive functions, particularly focusing on the working memory of a learner. An independent case study was conducted on one learner, using a qualitative research approach. Interviews and observations were conducted and inductively analysed. The learner followed a six-week intervention programme which was dynamically informed by recent literature as well as observations, interviews and a psychologist’s report. The findings indicated that the learner’s working memory, with particular reference to processing and storage, was challenged. The large demands of the classroom environment led to memory failure and he was prone to making errors. He experienced slow progress in his reading abilities, was unable to retain words and his reading was inconsistent. To alleviate some of his working memory demands, activities and instructions were broken down into smaller components to minimise his memory load, thus avoiding working memory related failures.

Keywords

working memory; literacy; reading; comprehension; writing; concentration

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