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IMPROVING THE READING ABILITY OF CLASS FIVE PUPILS OF OBUASI PRESBYTERIAN PRIMARY “A”
The purpose of the study is to develop beginning reading skills in class five pupils in Obuasi Presbyterian Primary School. This study adopted Ex-post facto correlational design.This study focus on Obuasi Community, Ghana.Multi-stage sampling was employed, when areas of concentration are picked and studied which 200 student where selected as the sample size. The Questionnaire method was used as the instrument for data collection. Based on the data analysis of the study, the study concluded that improving the reading ability of class five pupils of Obuasi Presbyterian primary is seen to be remarkable. This is because it takes more than competence in reading for exact meaning, information and gist, which entails associating words and sentences with sounds to attain comprehension.This study therefore, concludes that given the poor state of reading culture of pupils in the study area, efforts should be geared towards changing the poor perception of pupils towards reading. The study went ahead to recommend that The development of literal level of reading comprehension should start from primary school so that as pupils approach senior secondary school they must have developed the inferential and evaluative reading comprehension levels.
Reading is essential since it leads to the ability to decipher meaning and information from text to facilitate progress in all academic work. Reading also broadens a reader’s horizon through the gathering of information. An efficient reading habit leads to understanding, retention, recall and general development.
An important task of primary schools is to teach pupils to read. Hence, the basic objective of primaryeducation as reflected in the Ghanaian Policy on Education is “inculcation of permanent literacy and ability tocommunicate effectively”. Reading is not just an important tool forlearning but it is the basis for all aspects of learning (Oyetunde, 2017). It is very difficult to achieve academicsuccess without being able to read. Consequently, pupils need to learn to read in order to achieve academicexcellence. This highlights the close relationship between reading ability and academic achievement as well as thecritical role of reading as a tool for the pupil’s successful living and functioning in today’s complex society.
In view of the significance of reading and the activities involved, beginning reading instruction is animportant stage in the act of teaching and reading process (learning to read). The content of a beginning readingprogramme and the initial approach to the teaching of reading are of extreme importance. The pupil’s introductionto the activity the teacher calls “reading” will establish a fundamental attitude towards all subsequent activities inlearning to read.
To achieve this, teachers should be acquainted with foundational reading skills for beginning readers and thestrategies they can use to teach beginning reading (learn to read) and comprehension skills (reading to learn). Thiscalls for the need for a well designed beginning reading programme In ObuasiPresbyterian Primary to equip the teachers of reading with thevarious reading objectives, contents, lessons, activities or strategies and assessment techniques to help theminculcate and develop beginning and appropriate reading skills in pupils.
In addition, teachers need to understandthe nature of the reading process because instructional activities are usually influenced by the nature of what istaught (Oyetunde, 2002).
The Ghanaian education system has failed in developing efficient beginning reading skills especially in publicprimary school pupils (Oyetunde&Mmuodumogu, 1999; Umolu, 1998). Experiences of parents and teachers aswell as studies conducted by scholars indicate that most primary and secondary school leavers are illiteratesorsemi-illiterates (Dahl, 2001). This is proven by the fact that many of such pupils cannot copewith the reading demands of the curriculum and with what the society demands from them as literates.
For beginning readers in a public school system to meet the reading demands of their social environment,teachers must develop in them reading readiness concepts and skills such as oral language foundation, printawareness, letter recognition skills, phono-phonemic awareness skills, sight word recognition skills as well ascomprehension skills. These concepts and skills serve as a gradual development from non-reading to beginningreading (Oyetunde&Mmuodumogu, 1999; Davis, 2000).Oracy refers to general abilities in the oral language. But when one talks about oral language developmentacross the curriculum, it means improving pupils’ ability to talk or communicate more effectively. Research shows,beyond question, that pupils gain language skills valuable for their success in reading and writing through talkingand listening to teachers and peers (Dahl, 2001; Gambrell, 2001).
Developing sight vocabulary is key to reading, to writing, to verbal expression, and in many ways to buildinganalytical and critical thinking (Davis, 2000). Also, to be successful readers, pupils need to be familiar andcomfortable with the letters of the alphabet. Pupils whose knowledge of letters is not well-developed when theystart school, require organized instruction and practice that will help them learn to identify, name, and write letters(Rosenberg, 2006).Phono-phonemic awareness is essential because our writing system is a representation of speech sounds which are represented by the symbols on a page. Most of the time, pupils who have reading problems have a weakness in their ability to detect and identify speech sounds because printed symbols may appear arbitrary to learners without phono-phonemic awareness (Ruby, 2004).
One of the skills that pupils need to master before they can read books is the possession of a broad, general appreciation of the nature of print (Rosenberg, 2006). Pupils need to be exposed to forms of print in everyday life, including conventions associated with book reading. Learning reading comprehension, for beginning readers,
requires having them prepare to hear a story, reading the story to them, and then following up with questions to strengthen their reading comprehension skill (Torgesen& Matthews, 2000).
The Concentrated Language Encounter (CLE) is a method of reading instruction that enables learners to learn language mainly through encounter with others in which the learners concentrate intensely on making themselves understood. The CLE techniques for developing literacy are particularly effective in educationally difficult circumstances, such as are found in developing countries where there is a lack of materials and financial support, there is an irrelevant curriculum to local needs, there is a lack of learner’s interest in literacy and there are unqualified teachers or trainers who implement literacy programmes (Walker, Rathanavich&Oller, 1992; Rotary International, 1984).
CLE programmes are “immersion” programmes in which pupils do new and increasingly more difficult things with spoken and written language in the course of group activity. Another strong feature of the methodology is called “scaffolding” whereby the teacher just models what pupils are expected to do, and then provide less and less guidance as pupils become more and more able to work without support.
CLE method is based on Vygotsky’s (1978) constructivist learning theory which is pupils’ centred. It states that pupils’ learning is based on adult guidance, socialinteraction, meaningful experiences and responsible risk-taking. The philosophical basis is that teachers provide a literacy rich environment for their pupils and combine literacy, speaking, reading skills.
1.2 STATEMENT OF PROBLEM
Most public primary school pupils are not learning to read. Although some pupils in the primary level are able to read, they lack the appropriate degree of speed for their age and grade and are not able to make meaning of what they read. Reading, as has been suggested, “is not as natural as breathing, talking or even walking; it is a complex activity which involves a number of skills” Anyidoho (1999:9)
The public primary school system has more or less collapsed in the sense that only a very small percentage of pupils who go through it learn to read.Therefore, the specific problems of this study include pupils’ lack of reading ability or foundational skills for developing reading attitudes, concepts and skills, lack of a reading instructional programme that clearly spells outobjectives, contents, activities or strategies, instruments, and assessment techniques for developing beginningreading skills, as well as pupils’ lack of basic linguistic skills that can help them read texts. Besides, readinginstructional methods have not been able to spell out specific techniques or phases that can be used to developspecific or particular reading skills and concepts of public school primary one pupils in Ghana
1.3 RESEARCH OBJECTIVES
The purpose of the study is to develop beginning reading skills in CLASS FIVE pupils, in Obuasi Presbyterian Primary School,
The specific objectives of the study include:
(1) To find out general average reading level of CLASS FIVE pupils of Obuasi Presbyterian Primary
(2) To find out the learning process of CLASS FIVE pupils of Obuasi Presbyterian Primary
(3) To discover workable methods of improving the reading ability of CLASS FIVE pupils of Obuasi Presbyterian Primary
1.4 RESEARCH QUESTIONS
- What is the general average reading level of CLASS FIVE pupils of Obuasi Presbyterian Primary?
- What is the learning process of CLASS FIVE pupils of Obuasi Presbyterian Primary
- Are there workable methods of improving the reading ability of CLASS FIVE pupils of Obuasi Presbyterian Primary
- H0: There is nohigh general average reading level of CLASS FIVE pupils of Obuasi Presbyterian Primary
1.5 RESEARCH HYPOTHESIS
H1: There is no high general average reading level of CLASS FIVE pupils of Obuasi Presbyterian Primary
- H0: There is no high standard learning process of CLASS FIVE pupils of Obuasi Presbyterian Primary
H2: There is no high standard learning process of CLASS FIVE pupils of Obuasi Presbyterian Primary
- H0: There are no workable methods of improving the reading ability of CLASS FIVE pupils of Obuasi Presbyterian Primary
H1: There are workable methods of improving the reading ability of CLASS FIVE pupils of Obuasi Presbyterian Primary
1.6 SCOPE OF THE STUDY
The study is centred around improving the reading ability of pupils in the primary school, with a focus on the CLASS FIVE pupils of Presbyterian Primary School Obuasi, Ghana.
This study is restricted to the reading ability of English. Other forms of tense like present and future tenses are not dealt with in this study. The study also focuses on only basic CLASS FIVE pupils of Presbyterian Primary School Obuasi, Ghana.
The low confidence level of pupils in speaking the Englishlanguage frustrated the intervention process of this study. The conventionalabsence of some pupils on market days was encountered during the interviewingprocess and this had the tendency to affect the reliability and validity of the finding of this study.
1.9 DEFINITION OF TERMS
FLUENT Ability to speak or read efficiently without distortion
Learning: The acquisition of knowledge and skills by a variety of means,including education, experience and memorization.
Reading Difficulty: A term used interchangeably with reading Disability todescribe challenges that young children encounter when reading what is taught.
Adaptive Instructions: A way or form of responding to different learningneeds of learners during instruction.
Auditory Comprehension: The way a pupil understands and interprets whathe or she hears in class.
Orientation: How fast a pupil can familiarize him or herself with what is
taught in class.
Personal Social Behaviour: The way in which a pupil behaves in class
especially when tasked or given an assignment.
Remediation: The extra help given to a pupil suspected to have learningdifficulty in order for him or her improve upon his or her learning.
Pairing Learners: A way of learning where pupils with Learning Difficultyare paired with those without to help them when given assignments in class.
Breaking Task: This refers to breaking of very complex assignments given topupils into very simple tasks for pupils with Learning Difficulties.
Peer Tutoring: This refers to the pairing of learners with more than two pupilsso they help themselves when given as assignment in class.
Pupil Rating Scale: Standardizing Methods of Judging Human Character