Teaching reading in multilingual classes
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This qualitative study investigated the teaching of reading in Grade 3 multilingual classes in one school in the Western Cape. It focused on the teaching strategies employed by teachers in teaching reading, the challenges teachers encountered in teaching reading to multilingual classrooms and the resources available to enhance reading in these classes. Data were collected by means of classroom observations and interviews with teachers. The findings of the study show that teachers experience problems with regard to the teaching of reading in Grade 3 classes. Firstly, learners have no competence in English which is the main language of learning and teaching and this has a negative impact on their reading abilities. Secondly, while code switching is one of the popular strategies in facilitating teaching and learning, it may be problematic in multilingual classrooms in that it may exclude other learners from the content explained in a different language. Thirdly, print rich environments enhance learners' reading skills, but many underprivileged schools lack multilingual materials. The study concludes that teacher development is essential for the development of literacy in schools.