The promotion of reading among high school learners through text selection, evaluation and innovative methodologies
This study facilitated and evaluated the pedagogical approaches to the literacy pandemic that has afflicted South African learners, particularly high school learners in grade 8 and 10 in the English Home language classrooms. One of the key aims of the study was to find alternate and innovative pedagogical methods to increase the literacy levels in South African schools with the underlying focus being on promoting reading among High School learners. The objective of the study was to provide recommendations based on the findings of the research data, that could assist the educators and the school management on how to facilitate, guide and support high school learners in term of promoting reading through text selection, text evaluation and innovative teaching methodologies. Based on the proposed research questions, aims and objectives, this study was conducted using a qualitative approach to obtain data. It was proposed that the knowledge of the factors which demotivate learners from reading could be used to help educators to promote reading among high school learners. It was also proposed that this information would provide valuable insight that could be used to address the low literacy level at the school. The qualitative research approach method allowed me to conduct interviews; classroom observations; pose open-ended questions and allow for further discussion and investigation based on responses from participants. The study was situated within an interpretive, qualitative research paradigm using a case study design. The research was conducted in the Western Cape at a government high school named Cravenby Senior Secondary School (CSS). The motive behind choosing a government funded school is based on my belief that schools such as these need support given that one finds that the majority of South African learners are in the government schools. The research participants we derived from the focus group sampling method which consisted of 12 learners per group thus having 24 learners altogether from grade 8 and grade 10. Four educators also participated in the study; three of the four educators taught the grade 8 learners and two of the four educators taught the grade 10 learners. The research instruments included, for the learners, a demographic information sheet, interviews, questionnaires and classroom observations. The participant educators had to complete an information sheet, questionnaire, and participate in an individual interview as well as classroom observation. Content analysis was used to analyse and qualitative data by virtue of a three-stage open coding process for the content analysis. This was organized according to the main and sub-questions. The responses from the research participants were presented in the form of a summary in linear notes and summary tables. Key themes and issues were highlighted as themes and sub-themes in alignment with the theoretical framework. The findings of the study illustrated learners do in fact read too little and that their academic achievements are largely motivated by the amount of time they spend on reading. The study also proves that learners will read and engage with texts which they are able to relate to. The findings revealed that they the selection of texts which should be read and studied in high schools needs to be reevaluated and aligned to the needs and interests of learners and their daily realities. Based on these findings and those that are discussed in chapter four recommendations were made on how to assist high school educators in their various roles to teach; guide; support; facilitate and evaluate literacy and promote reading among high school learners.