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Trampoline trajectories : a dialectical analysis of the correlation between the teaching of reading and the learner-academic performance in a South African rural primary school.

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Using the Learning to Read methodology as an intervention, the study explores the phenomenon of the teaching of reading in a poor rural South African primary school. It examines the centrality of reading in the overall improvement of academic performance of learners across the curriculum. The study foregrounds as its theoretical and conceptual framework Bernstein’s, Vygotsky’s and Halliday’s theories that collectively inform the Learning to Read methodology to conceptualise the study, generate data and theorise the research findings. The Mixed Methods approach as a research methodology, Embedded Design as a research design, classroom observation, semi-structured interviews and documentary evidence collectively are used to generate data. Research findings reveal that there are fundamental assumptions that underpin teachers’ practices regarding the teaching of reading. Such assumptions tend to impact negatively on the academic performance of learners and/or produce positive outcomes for them. Thus, the attitudes, practices and perceptions (“understandings”) of practitioners on reading instruction as a phenomenon reflected in the kind of academic achievements of learners before, during and after the intervention are a major contribution to the field of language education. Crucially, the study reveals that the teaching of reading contributes significantly towards the improvement of learner academic performance when practiced across the curriculum, particularly in settings of extreme disadvantage.


Doctor of Philosophy in Education Studies. University of KwaZulu-Natal, Edgewood 2015.


Reading (Elementary) -- South Africa -- Language experience approach., School children -- Books and reading -- South Africa., Motivation in education -- South Africa., Reading (Elementary) -- South Africa., Theses -- Education.