Criteria for the evaluation of ESL readers for the senior primary phase
Gibbens, Cornelia Gertruida Aletta
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The approach in thesis was holistic in the sense that use was made of theoretical underpinnings from fields as diverse such as reception aesthetics and sociolinguistics to study reader preferences and influences of texts on readers. Sociolinguistic influences considered to exert an influence on readers are gender, educational influences such as teachers and even parents, socio-economic influences, ethnicity and culture, religion, age and emotional as well as cognitive development. Theoretical investigation revealed that books enjoyed by learners are books that deal with cultural issues sensitively and avoid portraying Black people as inferior. The ideal book is a book that parents and teachers approve of and children enjoy in equal measure. The favourite book for girls aged 11-14 must be a romantic story with lots of fantasy and with a female character in the lead. The males want a male major character, but also like romantic stories. Literacy could be significantly promoted if all these factors are taken into account when authors write books. Parents seem to be very involved with their offspring, but television seems to have cast its spell over children, keeping them glued to their seats. The empirical investigation attempted to verify the theoretical statements and support the notion that ethnicity must be dealt with sensitively. It reveals a cry for help from the side of Black learners to share and mix with other cultures and reveals the curiosity of White learners about, for example, township stories in spite of their demonstrated resistance to mixed cultures in books. It points out and reinforces the recurrent statements that the economy is a problem and resources and money are in short supply. A surprise revelation was that boys are not such poor readers as they are sometimes perceived to be in that they read as eagerly and even more eagerly than girls (from the results of the study). The empirical study underlines the economic problems of South Africa which exacerbate the already precarious provision of reading materials in homes of learners. It also reveals that writers are actually few and far between, and disappointingly not many learners seem to be interested in writing stories for others to read and therefore the handful of learners who do dispose of such talents need tremendous encouragement so that they can answer the need and write stories and other creative works of literature.
- Humanities