Reading for understanding: An investigation into teachers’ reading comprehension strategies in Grade three isiXhosa Home Language classrooms in the Western Cape
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Reading is one of the components of literacy that plays a crucial role in accessing knowledge. It develops the children’s mind and stimulates their understanding of the reading content and enables them to function and communicate effectively in society. Research conducted in the field of literacy suggests that there is a literacy crisis (especially in reading), around the world. Recent research indicates that South African Foundation Phase learners perform poorly in reading comprehension. Considering poor literacy results observed in South Africa, it is important to explore reading as a socio-cultural and cognitive practice and to identify the factors that contribute towards adequate acquisition of reading comprehension skills in the Foundation Phase. Thus the focus of this study is on reading comprehension in isiXhosa Home Language which is used as the main language of learning and teaching from Grade R - 3. I have used a qualitative approach as an underpinning research methodological framework for this study. Data was collected by means of interviews and classroom observations from two selected Grade three classrooms in one primary school in the Western Cape. The findings of this study illustrate the significance of learners’ prior knowledge and the use of adequate resources to enhance learners’ reading comprehension. The study concludes that reading comprehension is a cognitive process that demands innovative teaching approaches that will facilitate meaningful learning across the curriculum.