A description of South African readers reading in Sepedi and English : implications for education
Fakude, Pheladi Florina
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The Simple View of Reading (SVR) framework suggests that successful reading comprehension posits that readers must process both decoding and linguistic comprehension. The current study examined the role of decoding and linguistic comprehension within the SVR with a sample of 29 high school learners (Grade 8-9) and 28 first-year university students. The data sought to answer the following research questions: what characterises the school and university readers of Sepedi and English in the study? To answer this question, participants were given a questionnaire to capture information about their language history, perception and attitude towards using Sepedi as a language of teaching and learning. The second research question is: within the theoretical framework of the SVR, what characteristics of decoding and comprehension define the reading of the Sepedi and English school and university participants and what conclusions can be made about the reading behaviour of the participants in the study for education? To answer this question, participants read generic and academic texts in Sepedi and English while monitoring their eye movements using an SMI iViewX Hi-Speed eye tracker and answering comprehension tests. The study employed two measures of reading in Sepedi and English (i.e. participants read the same Sepedi and English texts and did 2 different comprehension tests within a 5 weeks interval). Additional measures that were incorporated in the study include measuring the oral reading fluency of the participants by investigating the miscues made by readers once during the study. Apart from reporting the frequencies of data to provide a description of the reading behaviour of the participants, the study made use of Mixed Effect Model Regression (LMER) to report word frequency and word length data across language, measures and text type in order to investigative the decoding and linguistic comprehension abilities of the participants. The findings of the study revealed that the majority of the school and university participants were very positive about the use of Sepedi as a language of teaching and learning in both the school and university contexts. The global reading measures of eye movement showed that both groups of the participants had shorter saccades, many regressions, and longer fixation durations. Both school and university participants showed similar but inconsistent eye movement behaviour. Furthermore, the study revealed that school participants struggled to decode and comprehend, while the university participants were able to decode to a larger extent but experienced problems with comprehension. The study indicates that deeper reading problems develop during early school levels. The study concludes by considering the implications of the findings of the descriptive study of school and university readers of Sepedi and English within the SVR and for using the data gathered to consider its effect for the use of languages in education.
- Humanities