Early-grade reading support in rural South Africa

A language-centred technology approach

Nathan Matthew Castillo, Daniel A. Wagner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

This article describes a short-term longitudinal study conducted in low-performing rural primary schools in South Africa. The authors were involved in developing a two-year multimedia reading programme for rural South African children in grades 1–3, and sought to assess key learning outcomes in existing school computer laboratories. The programme provided interactive local-language support in three local languages plus English, with content designed to be culturally appropriate and contextually relevant for the target group. The study tracked a total of 215 learners, some of whom used the programme once a week for its duration, while a control group did not. Findings revealed a positive and significant impact on local-language reading fluency and reading comprehension among the children who had used the instructional software. The outcome demonstrates nearly three-quarters of a year of additional reading growth compared to reading growth at control schools within the sample, as well as a twofold increase in reading comprehension in the treatment group. The study demonstrates that technology-based reading support can help rural learners in South Africa to make substantive gains so they can complete their schooling. The ability to accomplish a full cycle of primary school with well-developed reading skills has important implications for lifelong learning. The authors argue that guided and contextualised instructional software can lead to enhanced learning outcomes compared to unguided digital content or traditional teacher support alone.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)389-408
Number of pages20
JournalInternational Review of Education
Volume65
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 15 2019

Fingerprint

language
primary school
comprehension
rural school
target group
lifelong learning
school
learning
multimedia
longitudinal study
Group
school grade
ability
teacher
software

Keywords

  • Bridges to the Future Initiative (BFI)
  • Language
  • Learning assessment
  • Literacy
  • Technology

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education

Cite this

Early-grade reading support in rural South Africa : A language-centred technology approach. / Castillo, Nathan Matthew; Wagner, Daniel A.

In: International Review of Education, Vol. 65, No. 3, 15.06.2019, p. 389-408.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

@article{c6638bd13b9349f08fb73b275530d7fe,
title = "Early-grade reading support in rural South Africa: A language-centred technology approach",
abstract = "This article describes a short-term longitudinal study conducted in low-performing rural primary schools in South Africa. The authors were involved in developing a two-year multimedia reading programme for rural South African children in grades 1–3, and sought to assess key learning outcomes in existing school computer laboratories. The programme provided interactive local-language support in three local languages plus English, with content designed to be culturally appropriate and contextually relevant for the target group. The study tracked a total of 215 learners, some of whom used the programme once a week for its duration, while a control group did not. Findings revealed a positive and significant impact on local-language reading fluency and reading comprehension among the children who had used the instructional software. The outcome demonstrates nearly three-quarters of a year of additional reading growth compared to reading growth at control schools within the sample, as well as a twofold increase in reading comprehension in the treatment group. The study demonstrates that technology-based reading support can help rural learners in South Africa to make substantive gains so they can complete their schooling. The ability to accomplish a full cycle of primary school with well-developed reading skills has important implications for lifelong learning. The authors argue that guided and contextualised instructional software can lead to enhanced learning outcomes compared to unguided digital content or traditional teacher support alone.",
keywords = "Bridges to the Future Initiative (BFI), Language, Learning assessment, Literacy, Technology",
author = "Castillo, {Nathan Matthew} and Wagner, {Daniel A.}",
year = "2019",
month = "6",
day = "15",
doi = "10.1007/s11159-019-09779-0",
language = "English (US)",
volume = "65",
pages = "389--408",
journal = "International Review of Education",
issn = "0020-8566",
publisher = "Springer Netherlands",
number = "3",

}

TY - JOUR

T1 - Early-grade reading support in rural South Africa

T2 - A language-centred technology approach

AU - Castillo, Nathan Matthew

AU - Wagner, Daniel A.

PY - 2019/6/15

Y1 - 2019/6/15

N2 - This article describes a short-term longitudinal study conducted in low-performing rural primary schools in South Africa. The authors were involved in developing a two-year multimedia reading programme for rural South African children in grades 1–3, and sought to assess key learning outcomes in existing school computer laboratories. The programme provided interactive local-language support in three local languages plus English, with content designed to be culturally appropriate and contextually relevant for the target group. The study tracked a total of 215 learners, some of whom used the programme once a week for its duration, while a control group did not. Findings revealed a positive and significant impact on local-language reading fluency and reading comprehension among the children who had used the instructional software. The outcome demonstrates nearly three-quarters of a year of additional reading growth compared to reading growth at control schools within the sample, as well as a twofold increase in reading comprehension in the treatment group. The study demonstrates that technology-based reading support can help rural learners in South Africa to make substantive gains so they can complete their schooling. The ability to accomplish a full cycle of primary school with well-developed reading skills has important implications for lifelong learning. The authors argue that guided and contextualised instructional software can lead to enhanced learning outcomes compared to unguided digital content or traditional teacher support alone.

AB - This article describes a short-term longitudinal study conducted in low-performing rural primary schools in South Africa. The authors were involved in developing a two-year multimedia reading programme for rural South African children in grades 1–3, and sought to assess key learning outcomes in existing school computer laboratories. The programme provided interactive local-language support in three local languages plus English, with content designed to be culturally appropriate and contextually relevant for the target group. The study tracked a total of 215 learners, some of whom used the programme once a week for its duration, while a control group did not. Findings revealed a positive and significant impact on local-language reading fluency and reading comprehension among the children who had used the instructional software. The outcome demonstrates nearly three-quarters of a year of additional reading growth compared to reading growth at control schools within the sample, as well as a twofold increase in reading comprehension in the treatment group. The study demonstrates that technology-based reading support can help rural learners in South Africa to make substantive gains so they can complete their schooling. The ability to accomplish a full cycle of primary school with well-developed reading skills has important implications for lifelong learning. The authors argue that guided and contextualised instructional software can lead to enhanced learning outcomes compared to unguided digital content or traditional teacher support alone.

KW - Bridges to the Future Initiative (BFI)

KW - Language

KW - Learning assessment

KW - Literacy

KW - Technology

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=85065706357&partnerID=8YFLogxK

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/citedby.url?scp=85065706357&partnerID=8YFLogxK

U2 - 10.1007/s11159-019-09779-0

DO - 10.1007/s11159-019-09779-0

M3 - Article

VL - 65

SP - 389

EP - 408

JO - International Review of Education

JF - International Review of Education

SN - 0020-8566

IS - 3

ER -