Research project to determine the effect of free voluntary reading on comprehension

S. I. I. Olien, M. P. Machet

Abstract


The purpose of this research project was to determine the effect of free voluntary reading (FVR) by primary school pupils on their English second-language (ESL) comprehension. An experimental school was provided with a collection of specially selected books and a reading scheme. Then a FVR programme for ESL pupils in standards 2 to 5 was introduced. The control school continued to use only traditional methods of language teaching. Pupils in both schools were given reading comprehension tests at the start of the project and again eight months later. Different statistical tests were carried out on the data. It was found that standard 2, 3 and 4 pupils in the experimental school all made very good overall improvement which was higher than that of the same standards in the control school. There was a significant difference in the improvement of the standard 2 and 4 pupils in the experimental school. Standard 5 pupils showed the least improvement in both schools. It appears that a FVR programme which is introduced early enough in the primary school does effect comprehension more than traditional language teaching methods, but because pupils had problems answering inferential questions, teacher mediation is also an important additional factor. Other findings and recommendations are discussed.

Die doel van hierdie navorsingsprojek was om die effek te bepaal van 'n vrywillige leesprogram op die begrip van laerskoolleerlinge met Engels as tweedetaal. 'n Eksperimentele skool is voorsien van 'n versameling spesiaal uitgesoekte boeke en 'n leesskema. Daarna is 'n vrywillige leesprogram vir Engels-tweedetaalleerlinge in standerd 2 tot 5 ingebring. Die kontroleskool het voortgegaan om slegs tradisionele metodes van taalonderrig te gebruik. Leerlinge in beide skole het leesbegripstoetse gedoen aan die begin van die projek en weer agt maande later. Die data is aan verskeie statistiese toetse onderwerp. Daar is bevind dat standerds 2, 3 en 4 in die eksperimentele skool in al die toetse gesamentlik 'n goeie verbetering getoon het wat hoer was as die van leerlinge in die kontroleskool. Daar was 'n beduidende verskil in die verbetering van standerd 2- en standerd 4-leerlinge in die eksperimentele skool. Stapderd 5-leerlinge in beide skole het die minste verbetering getoon. Dit kom voor asof die effek van 'n vrye keuse leesprogram wat vroeg genoeg in die laerskool ingebring word leesbegrip meer bevorder as tradisionele taalonderrigmetodes, maar aangesien leerlinge probleme gehad het om afleibare vrae te beantwoord, is onderwyserbemiddeling ook 'n belangrike bykomende faktor. Ander bevindings en aanbevelings word bespreek.


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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.7553/65-2-1478

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