Promoting literacy using short messaging services in rural learners with reading difficulties.
Ntuli, Thobekile Leanet.
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In most rural primary schools, learners reach Intermediate Phase lacking reading and writing abilities, when reading is a core element of their education. Learners who have inabilities to read are conceptualized as ‘learners with reading difficulties.’ The purpose of this qualitative research study was to explore the experiences and perceptions of rural learners with reading difficulties in using Short Messaging Services (SMS) in promoting literacy. The study was conducted in one rural public primary school of Ngome, Greytown area in South Africa. The study used three learners as participants. This research study was underpinned by the interpretivist paradigm and was foregrounded by the theory which was social constructivism. Data was collected through observation and open – ended interviews on the experiences and perceptions of learners in using SMS to learn literacy. Data on observation and interview transcripts were analysed by means of content and thematic analysis. Findings indicated that the use of SMS had turned learners with reading difficulties to be active citizens, as they were participating actively in all activities, enjoyed receiving messages (SMS), reading them, typing and sending responses. Analysis of findings revealed that learners with reading difficulties need individual attention when reading, while being hands on. Recommendations indicate that digital learning and stimuli are highly needed to accommodate diversity in a general classroom. SMS provides hands – on learning to learners. SMS encourages active participation of learners in each subject taught.