Making the transition from learning to read to reading to learn in Grade 4: Investigating the teaching of reading literacy in two Western Cape schools
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Drawing on the Progress in International Reading Literacy Study - PIRLS (Howie, et al., 2008), which highlights the reading literacy crisis in South African schools, this study investigated the literacy crisis in relation to reading literacy in Grade Four of the Intermediate Phase. The purpose of the study is to contribute to the debate about challenges around the reading literacy acquisition of South African school children by investigating the current teaching and assessing of reading comprehension practices of language teachers in multilingual Grade Four classes in disadvantaged contexts, focusing on reading comprehension in English and Afrikaans Home language. This study uses a qualitative research approach. Data was collected in Grade Four Afrikaans and English Home Language classes at two schools in the Western Cape, using observation, interviews and document analysis. To analyze the data, the study aligns itself with a learner-centered model (Wilhelm 2004). This learner-centered model draws on Vygotsky’s socio-cultural and constructivist teaching and learning approaches and will be the foundation to analyze current teaching and assessing of reading comprehension practices of language teachers in the Grade Four Afrikaans and English Home Language classes at two multilingual schools focusing on teachers’ questioning skills. It is hoped that this study will contribute to an understanding of the current reading literacy crisis experienced in South African schools and inform more effective teacher training.