Proceedings of The 4th International Conference on Advanced Research in Social Sciences
Improvement from Within: The Free Voluntary Reading Approach and Reading Comprehension for Rural English Fal Learners
Mosebetsi Mokoena, Cias Tsotetsi
The teaching of reading and reading comprehension for English first additional language (FAL) learners remains a challenge in many rural schools. As a result, many English FAL learners continue to perform and compare poorly in national and international reading benchmarks. This study explores a free voluntary reading approach (FVR) as another strategy for improving reading comprehension for English FAL learners in a rural high school. It reports on the school conditions that facilitate the application of this approach as well as the factors that may impede or enhance the success of this approach. Following its qualitative nature, the paper adopts Participatory Action Learning and Action Research (PALAR) and Social Constructivist Theory (SCT) as methodological and conceptual frameworks, respectively. The free attitude interviews (FAI), oral reflections and focus group discussions (workshops) are used to generate data from ten co-researchers. Fairclough’s Critical Discourse Analysis (CDA) is employed for data analysis. The findings suggest that co-researchers prefer to choose and decide their own reading materials in the English FAL classrooms. The establishment of drop-in boxes is another condition necessary for successful application of FVR approach. Furthermore, the findings indicate that effective modelling of reading enhances the application of this approach. Finally, the nature of classroom arrangement is important for the success of free voluntary reading approach.
keywords: reading comprehension, free voluntary reading, rural, English first additional language.