A critical summative evaluation of the language experience approach (Leap) as exemplified by breakthrough to literacy, as a method of teaching beginning reading in reception classes.
This investigation, into the efficacy of LEAP, as exemplified by Breakthrough to Literacy, as the main strand in a mixed method for the teaching of beginning reading, was motivated by the following considerations: 1. Breakthrough to Literacy has been and is being used with tremendous success not only in Great Britain, where it was launched, but also in Canada and Australia, and increasingly in South Africa. 2. A pilot investigation by Professor P T Pienaar revealed that the incidence of reading retardation among the South African Indian pupils at all levels in Primary Schools was high. 3. Reading is a very important, if not the most important aspect of language learning and, in turn, language plays a dominant role in the total curriculum of Junior Primary pupils. 4. The Department of Indian Education is introducing the "mixed Breakthrough method" referred to above on an increasing scale. If the present trend is maintained LEAP will become the sole method for the teaching of beginning reading. The investigation comprised the following: 1. The use of Experimental and Control classes at two different schools. LEAP as exemplified by Breakthrough to Literacy, was used in Experiment classes while the Look-and-Say Method, as exemplified by the Let's Learn to Read Series, was used in the Control Classes. 2. The use of questionnaires to obtain information on the pupils and their families. 3. Personal observations of the work of the teachers and pupils in the Experimental and Control classes. 4. The use of questionnaires to elicit the opinions of various teachers who had experience of LEAP and the Look-and-Say Method used by the classes in the study. 5. Tests of the reading and creative writing abilities of pupils in the Experimental and Control classes. The overall results show: 1. That pupils taught by LEAP, as exemplified by BL, got a better start to reading than pupils on the "Look-and-Say" method, as exemplified by LLR. Breakthrough pupils also performed better in reading "new" material. 2. That "Breakthrough" pupils not only wrote more but also wrote better in respect of both content and style.