The reading development of level 4 ABET learners.
The purpose of this enquiry was to explore reading development experiences of adult learners learning English Level 4. The research focused on their early reading experiences and the development of their reading experiences over the years and particularly in the present classes. The research site was an Adult Literacy Centre at a school in Pietermaritzburg, KwaZulu-Natal. The study was conducted within a qualitative interpretive paradigm, using a case study approach. Data collection techniques employed included personal interviews, observations and a focus group interview. The data collection instruments used was: interview schedules, observation checklists and audio visual aids. Data was analysed thematically. In exploring the participants’ lived experiences in the development of reading; this study drew on the Landscape Model of reading by David Rapp and Paul van den Broek, as well as Vygotsky’s social constructivism. The themes that emerged from the study were: reading development in Adult Basic Education (ABE) level 4 classes in relation to achieving the learners’ goals, reading development in ABE level 4 classes in relation to achieving the goals of the curriculum, motivation to read, reading and family life, reading and life in general, learners’ difficulties in expressing themselves, language gaps as a barrier to learning in the second language and finally, the functioning of and challenges faced at adult literacy centres. The main reasons for adult literacy centres not being fully functional were: a lack of learning, teaching and support material due to insufficient funds, some educators are not qualified or lacked the skills to teach reading and writing, goals of the curriculum are too academic, the distances that learners have to travel to the centres are too long and the times of the classes are not always suitable to the learners, especially if they are employed. Finally, the study presented recommendations to improve the functionality at adult literacy centres, to enable learners to gain maximum benefit. Recommendations were made for further research.