Supporting reading literacy: A grade 6 pilot study
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This paper discusses a pilot reading-literacy development initiative in a class of Grade 6 township learners. The purpose of the study was to pilot a model of literacy development that could be implemented across a wider platform of schools. The pilot study, using classroom observation and focus group interviews, was designed within a psycholinguistic perspective. Criteria for effective reading-literacy development - access to text and the desire to engage, knowing what to do with text, and opportunities to understand and reflect on text - were used to design the study, and as a lens for analysis. The paper focuses on case studies as illustrative examples of the ways in which the initiative supported access to texts, reading-literacy confidence, and the development of interpretive and reflective reading skills. The study suggests that a conducive literacy environment, including access to texts, knowing what to do with texts, and opportunities to understand and reflect on text - as well as the support of teachers who know how to facilitate literacy - has the potential to achieve literacy gains for even seriously compromised learners.