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Language and Literacy resources

When signals are lost in aggregation: a comparison of language marks and competencies of first-year university students
Authors: Fleisch, B., Schöer, V., and Cliff, A.
Published: 2015
Reference:

Fleisch, B., Schöer, V., and Cliff, A. 2015. When signals are lost in aggregation: a comparison of language marks and competencies of first-year university students. South African Journal of Higher Education, Volume 29, Issue 5, January 2015, pp. 156 - 178

A comparative analysis of National Senior Certificate marks and National Benchmark Test (NBT) Academic Literacy (AL) test results for a cohort of first-year education students at the University of the Witwatersrand, which showed that the same mark in English HL and FAL does not necessarily reflect the same level of English language academic competence as measured by the NBT AL test. On average, students who wrote the FAL papers scored between .5 and .9 of a standard deviation below students who wrote the HL paper (and probably need extensive and ongoing academic support).

Keywords: Language, Literacy, Reading, University
Impact of teachers’ practices on students’ reading comprehension growth in Guatemala
Authors: Rubio et al
Published: 2017
Reference:

Rubio, F., de Véliz, L. R., Perdoma Mosquera, M. C., and Salanic López, V. 2017. Impact of teachers’ practices on students’ reading comprehension growth in Guatemala.   In: Gove, A., Mora, A. and McCardle, P. (Eds). 2017. Progress toward a literate world: Early reading interventions in low-income countries, New Directions for Child and Adolescent Development, Volume 2017, Issue 155, pp. 67–76.

Keywords: Literacy, Reading, Language
Investigating the Comprehension Iceberg: Developing empirical benchmarks for early grade reading in agglutinating African language
Authors: Spaull, N., Pretorius, E., and Mohohlwane, N.
Published: 2018
Reference:

Spaull, N. Pretorius, E., and Mohohlwane, N. 2018. Investigating the Comprehension Iceberg: Developing empirical benchmarks
for early grade reading in agglutinating African languages. RESEP Working Paper Series No. WP01/2018. Stellenbosch: University of Stellenbosch

Investigating the Comprehension Iceberg: Developing empirical benchmarks for early grade reading in agglutinating African languages

Annotation:

Report on an assessment survey using an adaptation of the Early Grade Reading Assessment (EGRA)with 785 Grade 3 learners across three languages (Northern Sotho, Tsonga and Zulu) that showed that there were large differences in reading results on fluency, accuracy and oral comprehension between languages with conjunctive and disjunctive orthographies. Te results suggest that there are minimum words correct per minute (wcpm) rates for each language, below which it is virtually impossible to read for meaning - 52-66 wcpm for Northern Sotho, 39-48 wcpm for Tsonga nad 20-32 wcpm for Zulu. The authors argue that there is a strong need for empirical language-specific norms and benchmarks for African languages.

Keywords: Language, Literacy, Reading, African languages
Reading in English as a First Additional Language. An annotated bibliography 2007-2018
Authors: Biesman-Simons, C., Dixon, K., with Pretorius, E.J.
Published: 2019
Reference:

Biesman-Simons, C. and Dixon, K. with Pretorius, E.J. 2019. Reading in English as a First Additional Language: An annotated bibliography: 2017-2018.

This annotated bibliography was compiled by Claire Biesman-Simons and Kerryn Dixon with Elizabeth Pretorius as part of the Primary Teacher Education Project (PrimTEd). It gives a summary account of South African research that has been done on reading in English as a First Additional Language from 2007 to 2018. It comprises a set of 40 annotated entries, mainly research articles from accredited journals and also lists several other sources closely related to reading in EFAL. Originally compiled in 2018 and 2019, it is designed in such a way that new entries can be added to it as new research emerges, and it will be regularly updated.

Keywords: Reading, Language, EFAL, Literacy
Foundation and Intermediate Phase B.Ed. programmes at selected South African universities: languages and literacies components
Authors: Reed, Y. (Comp.)
Published: 2019
Reference:

Reed, Y.  (Comp.) 2019. Foundation and Intermediate Phase B.Ed. programmes at selected South African universities: languages and literacies components.

To inform the work of the Primary Teacher Education Project the Literacy Working Group conducted an audit of language and literacy teacher education at ten South African universities in the 2017 to 2018. In addition an analysis was made of the Bachelor of Education modules taught in sixteen universities. The final report was compiled by Professor Yvonne Reed of the University of the Witwatersrand.

Keywords: Language, Literacy, Curriculum, Initial teacher education
The DBE’s workbooks as a curriculum tool
Authors: Hoadley, U. and Galant, J.
Published: 2016
Reference:

Hoadley, U. and Galant, J. 2016.  The DBE’s workbooks as a curriculum tool. RESEP Policy Brief. March 2016. Research on Socio-Economic Policy, Department of Economics, University of Stellenbosch

A brief evaluation of the Department of Basic Education’s workbooks which found them a welcome intervention that was well aligned to the key CAPS content areas and are a useful practice tool which could also be used for monitoring student progress. It did however find that they were not an effective tool for assessment.

Keywords: Language, Literacy, Mathematics, Mathematics materials
Dialects matter: The influence of dialects and code-switching on the literacy and numeracy achievements of isiXhosa Grade 1 learners in the Western Cap
Authors: Mtsatse, N. and Combrink, C.
Published: 2018
Reference:

Mtsatse, N. and Combrink, C. 2018. Dialects matter: The influence of dialects and code-switching on the literacy and numeracy achievements of isiXhosa Grade 1 learners in the Western Cape. Journal of Education, Issue 72, pp. 20-37

A study of the influence of different dialects and code-switching on the literacy and numeracy achievements of isiXhosa Grade 1 learners in the Western Cape which found that many teachers did not use the standardised isiXhosa though they believed that dialects should not be used in the classroom. Many teachers had little or no knowledge about how to teach early reading in isiXhosa and use dialects as an aid. Learners who speak a dialect different from the standardised one start at a significant disadvantage. The authors argue for the standardisation of African languages, teacher training and development and better resource allocation and development of appropriate texts.

Keywords: Language, Literacy, Numeracy, Mathematics
Springboard for Talent: Language Learning and Integration in a Globalized World
Authors: Salzburg Global Seminar
Published: 2018
Reference:

Salzburg Global Seminar. 2018. Springboard for Talent: Language Learning and Integration in a
Globalized World. Salzburg: Salzburg Global Seminar

The Salzburg Global Seminar convened the session Springboard for Talent: Language Learning and Integration in a Globalized World in Salzburg, Austria, in December 2017. The five-day session resulted in the Salzburg Statement for a Multilingual World, which has since been translated into more than 50 languages. Together, the more than 40 representatives from policy, academia, civil society and business, representing over 25 countries looked specifically at language policy through the lenses of social justice and social cohesion; the relationship between multilingualism and dynamic and entrepreneurial societies; the role of language policy in achieving the fourth Sustainable Development Goal for quality education; and the evolving role of technology in this field.

Keywords: Literacy, Language, Reading
Lifewide learning for early reading development
Authors: Dowd, A.J. et al
Published: 2017
Reference:

Dowd, A. J., Friedlander, E., Jonason, C., Leer, J., Sorensen, L. Z., Guajardo, J., D’Sa, N., Pava, C., and Pisani, L. 2017. Lifewide learning for early reading development. In: Gove, A., Mora, A. and McCardle, P. (Eds). 2017. Progress toward a literate world: Early reading interventions in low-income countries, New Directions for Child and Adolescent Development, Volume 2017, Issue 155, pp. 31–49.

A large scale study of the influence of the home and community literacy environments in Asia and Africa that found that a modest but consistent relationship between students’ home literacy environments and reading scores, and a strong relationship between reading gains and participation in community reading activities.

Keywords: Literacy, Reading
Working toward a more literate world: Reading intervention commentary
Authors: Lovett, M.
Published: 2017
Reference:

Lovett, M. W. 2017. Working toward a more literate world: Reading intervention commentary. In: Gove, A., Mora, A. and McCardle, P. (Eds). 2017. Progress toward a literate world: Early reading interventions in low-income countries, New Directions for Child and Adolescent Development, Volume 2017, Issue 155, pp. 131-141

A commentary on the evidence coming out of evidence-based practices in early reading instruction and intervention in low- and middle income countries In Africa, Asia and Latin America.

Keywords: Literacy, Reading
Great expectations: A framework for assessing and understanding key factors affecting student learning of foundational reading skills
Authors: Moore, A.-M. et al
Published: 2017
Reference:

Moore, A.-M., Gove, A., and Tietjen, K. 2017. Great expectations: A framework for assessing and understanding key factors affecting student learning of foundational reading skills.  In: Gove, A., Mora, A. and McCardle, P. (Eds). 2017. Progress toward a literate world: Early reading interventions in low-income countries, New Directions for Child and Adolescent Development, Volume 2017, Issue 155, pp. 13–30.

Keywords: Reading, Literacy, Language
The Threshold Project
Authors: Macdonald, C. et al
Published: 1993

A major study conducted in the late 1980s into the nature of the language and learning difficulties experienced by Grade Five learners when the medium of instruction changed from mother tongue to English.

Annotation:

The Threshold Project began in 1985 with a pilot project conducted by the Institute for Research into Language and the Arts (IRLA). Funding was then obtained for the Institute for the Study of English in Africa (ISEA) (at Rhodes University) to undertake a three year research study. The study included language teaching and testing theory, cross-cultural cognitive development research, materials development, and observation of classroom practice. The problem addressed by the project was the nature of the language and learning difficulties experienced by Standard Three (Grade Five) when the medium of instruction changed from mother tongue to English.

Five final reports and a Consolidated Main Report were produced from 1990 to 1993.


Macdonald, C.A. 1990. Crossing the Threshold into Standard Three in Black Education. The Consolidated Main Report of the Threshold Project. Pretoria: Human Sciences Research Council

Macdonald, C.A. 1990. “How many years do you have? English language skills evaluation. A final report of the Threshold Project. Pretoria: Human Sciences Research Council

Macdonald, C.A. 1990. Ballpoint pens and braided hair: An analysis of reasoning skills and the curriculum. A final report of the Threshold Project. Pretoria: Human Sciences Research Council

Macdonald, C.A. 1990. Swimming up the waterfall: A study of school-based learning experiences. A final report of the Threshold Project. Pretoria: Human Sciences Research Council

van Rooyen, W. 1990. The disparity between English as a subject and English as a medium of learning. A final report of the Threshold Project. Pretoria: Human Sciences Research Council

Langham, D.P. 1993. The textbook as a source of difficulty in teaching and learning.  A final report of the Threshold Project. Pretoria: Human Sciences Research Council

Keywords: Literacy, Language, Reading, English
Finding the plot in South African reading education
Authors: Rule, P. and Land, S
Published: 2017
Reference:

Rule, P. and Land. S. 2017. Finding the plot in South African reading education, Reading & Writing, Vol.  8, Issue 1., Article 121.

This article argues that we have lost the plot in South African reading education. To find it, we need to move beyond the predominant mode of reading as oral performance, where the emphasis is on accuracy and pronunciation, to reading as comprehension of meaning in text. While reading research in South Africa has been conducted mainly in school contexts, this case study is of a school and Adult Basic Education and Training Centre in a rural KwaZulu-Natal community near Pietermaritzburg. It found that an oratorical approach to reading dominated in both settings. It suggests that developing the way in which teachers understand the teaching of reading and transforming the teaching practices of those who teach as they were taught in the education system of the apartheid era are key to improving the teaching of reading.

Keywords: Literacy, Reading
Proxies and perplexities: What is the current state of adult (il)literacy in South Africa?
Authors: Aitchison, J.
Published: 2016
Reference:

Aitchison, J. 2016. Proxies and perplexities: What is the current state of adult (il)literacy in South Africa? Journal of Education, Issue 66, pp. 111-138

This article provides a detailed analysis of the data from a range of official sources that have been used to enumerate the number of people who can be described as totally or functionally illiterate and estimates whether illiteracy in South Africa can be reduced in the foreseeable future

Keywords: Literacy
The End of Illiteracy? The Holy Grail of Clackmannanshire
Authors: Burkard, T.
Published: 1999
Reference:

Burkard, T. 1999. The End of Illiteracy?  The Holy Grail of Clackmannanshire. London: Centre for Policy Studies

Essentially a study of the initial stages of the rise of synthetic phonics as the preferred approach to teaching reading in the United Kingdom. It isn useful because it gives an account of the Clackmannanshire study of 1992/93 and other studies that provided the crucial empirical evidence that synthetic phonics was far superior to the analytic phonics/whole language approach and, crucially, worked well with both advantaged and disadvantaged children.

Keywords: Literacy, Language
Research findings in reading instruction are settled science
Authors: International Foundation for Effective Reading Instruction
Published: 2015
Reference:

International Foundation for Effective Reading Instruction. 2015.  Research findings in reading instruction are settled science. Inform, No 4, June 2015.

A brief survey of North American teaching of reading research.

Keywords: Literacy
Ending the Reading Wars: Reading acquisition from novice to expert
Authors: Castles, A., Rastle, K. and Nation, K.
Published: 2018
Reference:

Castles, A., Rastle, K., and Nation, K. 2018. Ending the Reading Wars: Reading acquisition from novice to expert. Psychological Science in the Public Interest, 2018, Vol. 19, No. 1, pp. 5-51.

An exceedingly thorough and comprehensive up to date review of the science of learning to read, spanning from children’s earliest alphabetic skills through to the fluent word recognition and skilled text comprehension characteristic of expert readers. Phonics is highlighted as central to learning in a writing system such as English but other research is reviewed on what else children need to learn to become expert readers. Consideration is also given to how these findings might be translated into effective classroom practice.

Keywords: Literacy, Language
Why Jaydon can't read: the triumph of ideology over evidence in teaching reading
Authors: Buckingham, J., Wheldall, K., and Beaman-Wheldall
Published: 2013
Reference:

Buckingham, J., Wheldall, K., and Beaman-Wheldall, R. 2013. Why Jaydon can't read: the triumph of ideology over evidence in teaching reading. Policy, Vol. 20, No. 3, pp. 21-32

A lively discussion of the entrenched rate of illiteracy among Australian children which identifies a failure in the institutions teaching reading educators to accept evidence-based science on the effective teaching of reading which has five main components: phonemic awareness, phonics, fluency, vocabulary and comprehension..

Keywords: Literacy, Reading
Reading in African languages - an Annotated Bibliography
Authors: Pretorius, E.J.
Published: 2018

This annotated bibliography was compiled by Professor Lilli Pretorius of UNISA as part of the Primary Teacher Education Project (PrimTEd). It gives a summary account of research that has been done on reading in African languages from 2004 to 2017, more specifically on languages belonging mainly to the family of Southern African Bantu languages. It comprises over 40 annotated entries, mainly research articles from accredited journals, chapters from books and postgraduate dissertations or theses, and also lists several other sources closely related to reading in the African languages. Originally compiled in 2017, it is designed in such a way that new entries can be added to it as new research emerges, and it will be regularly updated.

Keywords: Language, Literacy, Reading
Brain wave study shows how different teaching methods affect reading development
Authors: Wong, M.
Published: 2015
Reference:

Wong, M. 2015. Brain wave study shows how different teaching methods affect reading development, Psychology & Psychiatry, 29 May 2015

Report on a study done at the University of Stanford that shows how different literacy teaching methods affect reading development. Beginning readers who focus on letter-sound relationships, or phonics, instead of trying to learn whole words, increase activity in the area of their brains best wired for reading, according to the Stanford research investigating how the brain responds to different types of reading instruction.

Keywords: Literacy
The Salzburg Statement for a Multilingual World
Authors: Salzburg Global Seminar
Published: 2017
Reference:

Salzburg Global Seminar. 2017. The Salzburg Statement for a Multilingual World. Salzburg: Salzburg Global Seminar

This statement, made by the participants in the Salzburg Global Seminar’s session on Springboard for Talent: Language Learning and Integration in a Globalized World (12–17 December 2017), calls for policies that value and uphold multilingualism and language rights. It has been translated into all South African official languages.

Keywords: Language, Literacy
Are we country of cognitive genocide?
Authors: Aitchison, J.
Published: 2018

Full version of an article published in a condensed form by The Conversation on 26 February 2018 as "South Africa’s reading crisis is a cognitive catastrophe".

Keywords: Literacy, Reading
Supporting transition or playing catch-up in Grade 4? Implications for standards in education and training
Authors: Pretorius, E.J.
Published: 2014
Reference:

Pretorius, E.J. 2014. Supporting transition or playing catch-up in Grade 4? Implications for standards in education and training. Perspectives in Education, Volume 32, Number 1, pp. 51-76

Description of an intervention programme designed to support the transition to English as the medium of instruction in Grade 4 in a township school, using a pre- and post-test design. Because the pre-tests revealed very poor literacy levels in both Zulu home language and English, the intervention programme was modified in an attempt to fast-track the learners to literacy levels more appropriate to their grade. The paper briefly considers some of the reasons for the initial poor literacy performance and provides a model for literacy development in high-poverty contexts in order to minimise the need to play catch-up in the Intermediate Phase.

Keywords: Literacy, Reading, EFAL, Intermediate, Language
Reading comprehension in high-poverty schools: how should it be taught and how well does it work
Authors: Pretorius, E.J. and Lephalala, M.
Published: 2011
Reference:

Pretorius E.J. and Lephalala, M. 2011. Reading comprehension in high-poverty schools: how should it be taught and how well does it work. Per Linguam, Volume 27 Number 2, pp. 1-24

A description and appraisal of a reading comprehension programme that was aimed at Grade 6 learners and teachers and implemented in different ways in two high-poverty primary schools where reading levels were very low. The results of the comprehension programme for the learners' reading abilities in their home language, Northern Sotho, and in English are reported and lessons learned identified.

Keywords: Language, Literacy, Reading, Intermediate
Exploring relationships between Oral Reading Fluency and comprehension amongst ESL learners in South Africa
Authors: Spaull, N. and Pretorius, E.
Published: 2015
Reference:

Spaul, N. and Pretorius, E. 2015. Exploring relationships between Oral Reading Fluency and comprehension amongst ESL learners in South Africa. Presentation to Economic Society of South Africa, University of Cape on 4 September 2015

Conference presentation on Oral Reading Fluency and its correlation with comprehension among EFAL learners in South Africa

Keywords: Literacy, Reading, Language
CITE-ITEL
Authors: University of Texas at Austin
Published: 2017
Reference:

CITE-ITEL. A critical, interactive, transparent & evolving literature review in initial teacher education in literacy. (Access date). Retrieved from: https://cite.edb.utexas.edu/

CITE-TEL is a web-based resource, the Critical, Interactive, Transparent & Evolving literature review in Initial Teacher Education in Literacy, hosted by the University of Texas at Austin. It seeks to list the research literature that is focused on initial teacher preparation in literacy and provides a forum for researchers, practitioners, and policy makers to engage with this growing body of research.

Annotation:

This project is operating under the direction of faculty, doctoral students, and recent graduates from the Language and Literacy at The University of Texas at Austin in collaboration with the Literacy Research Association.

CITE-ITEL has  focused on the identification of empirical studies of initial teacher preparation in the area of literacy from the period 2000-2016. The current CITE-ITEL system includes over 700 published reports of research on initial teacher preparation in literacy and is growing.

Based on the analysis of these studies a set of topical areas has been identified. Studies, with relevant findings, have been linked to these topic areas. For each of the topic areas, synthesis statements that summarize the findings in each of the areas have been written. New topic areas will be created as research expands. The synthesis statements will be updated on an annual basis.

At the top of each page, are several links that take you into CITE-ITEL based on your interest. 

The Articles link will take you to all of the articles that are currently included in the CITE-ITEL data-base. The articles are organized alphabetically by the first author’s last name. If you are looking for a specific article or author, you can use the search box to locate the article or the author. If you click on the article entry, you will be taken to the article analysis page.

The Journals link operates in a similar way. The journals are listed alphabetically and you can search the system.  If you follow the link to a specific journal you will see the articles that have been published that are part of our data-base.

The Categories link will take you to into the structure we use within the system to reflect the focus for the articles.  Each article is linked to these major topics with Categories that are nested within Topics.  Following the link to any of these categories will give you a list of the articles that have been linked to that Topic. These links were made as part of the article analysis.

The Synthesis link will take you to the categories that have been synthesized.  There are currently eight syntheses ready to view on the system.

 

CITE-ITEL

 

Keywords: Literacy, Language, Reading, Initial teacher education
Teach in first language, it’s key to success
Authors: Dikotla, M.
Published: 2018
Reference:

Dikotla, M. 2018. Teach in first language, it’s key to success. Mail and Guardian, 2 February 2018

Opinion piece by the Director of the Molteno Institute for Language and Literacy on why switching to second-language teaching too early places pupils at a great disadvantage.

Keywords: Language, Literacy, Reading, English, Primary
What’s Hot in Literacy. 2018 Report
Authors: International Literacy Association
Published: 2018
Reference:

International Literacy Association. 2018. What’s Hot in Literacy. 2018 Report. Newark, Delaware: International Literacy Association

A useful guide to what topics “literacy experts” (mainly teachers and reading/literacy specialists in the United States, Canada, Phillippines, Australia and Nigeria) are currently most interested in and what they consider most important.

Keywords: Language, Literacy, Reading
Why the New Zealand National Literacy Strategy has failed and what can be done about it.
Authors: Tunmer et al
Published: 2013
Reference:

Tunmer, E., Chapman, J.W., Greaney, K.T., Prochnow, J.E. and Arrow A.W.  2013.  Why the Language and Literacy resources repository New Zealand National Literacy Strategy has failed and what can be done about it. Auckland, New Zealand: Massey University Institute of Education

Responding to evidence from PIRLS 2011 and Reading Recovery monitoring data that New Zealand’s 1999 National Literacy Strategy had failed, the authors look at the factors causing the failure (a constructivist orientation towards literacy education with a lack of attention to phonemic awareness and alphabetic coding skills, lack of response to differences in literate cultural capital, and policies on the first year of literacy teaching resistant to providing explicit instruction and assessment) and review more effective strategies based on contemporary theory and research.

Keywords: Literacy, Reading, Language