Factors that affect South African Reading Literacy Achievement: evidence from prePIRLS 2011
This study aims to identify factors that predict reading literacy achievement among Grade 4 learners in South Africa by utilising aspects of Carroll’s model of school learning. The study draws on the preProgress in International Reading Literacy Study (prePIRLS) 2011 data, which places South African Grade 4 learners’ results substantially below the international centre point of 500 at 461 (SE = 3.7). Selected items from the prePIRLS 2011 learner, parent and teacher questionnaires were used in a two-level model to determine the effect of learner aptitude, opportunity to learn and quality of instructional events on reading literacy achievement. The results point to the statistical significance of engaged reading and cultivating motivation for reading among learners from an early age, specifically through parental involvement in introducing early literacy activities as foundation of reading literacy by school-going age. Other results provide evidence for the importance of the value of reading across the curriculum not confined to formal reading lessons only. The teaching of reading comprehension skills and strategies is identified as a significant predictor of reading literacy achievement, instruction of which should form an integral part of teaching reading in the classroom.
Keywords: Carroll’s model of School Learning, contextual factors, prePIRLS 2011, reading literacy achievement