Master Eria Paul Njuki og Master Rita Christine Nakitende's dissertation for the degree of Ph.D.
The titel of the dissertation is:
the effect of training teachers in phonemic awareness and letter-sound knowledge on children's reading compentencies: A Ugandan urban context.
In Uganda as in many other countries, reading is considered a critical skill. Both previous and on-going studies indicate that many Ugandan children never learn to read property, even though they go to school. In addition, many children drop out of school before completing primary school. This huge challenge has raised concerns among stakeholders in Uganda and other development partners such as the World Bank. Indeed, the failure of Ugandan children to master reading is to a very large extent based on the fact that Ugandan teachers are inadequately trained in accordance with research-based knowledge and are teaching reading in a second language, a language they do not master. Children in Uganda learn to read in a second language, a language they may hardly know when they start school.
Empirical evidence based on meta-analyses of related studies consistently indicates that there is a causal relationship between training teachers in phonemic awareness and children's reading gains. Research evidence indicates that more research is needed on how pre-service and in-service teacher education can ensure that effective methods are used to facilitate reading competencies of all children, including those who are at-risk of reading failure.
Through a randomised control trial, a pre-test, mid- and delayed post-test design was employed. An original sample of 40 Ugandan teachers and their 160 children were randomly assigned to two groups (20-w-eek and 40-week). Both teachers and children were tested at three test times on measures related to phonemic awareness, letter-sound knowledge, word recognition and vocabulary. The groups of teachers were also given a measure based on their phonemic awareness pedagogical knowledge. The intervention was implemented through the Jolly Phonics reading programme in which teachers were trained for 4 days.
Results show that the teachers in the 40-week group who were trained first and implemented the intervention during the first 20-week period made significantly more progress on all measures of phonemic awareness and letter-sound knowledge than teachers in the 20-week group who did not receive the training then. I-lowever, those teachers who only received the training later and implemented the intervention only in the last 20 weeks, made rapid progress and appeared to catch up with teachers in the 40-week group with the more prolonged implementation of the intervention. In the same way at T2 the 40-week group of children outperformed the 20- week group who had not yet received the intervention. At T3 although the 20-week group of children made considerable progress, the 40-week group still was significantly ahead of them on all measures. Notably, there were significant variations in children's response to the intervention in both grotips predicted by poor initial literacy skills and intervention duration. Conclusively. training ordinary classroom teachers in an effectlve intervention delivered on a daily basis is effective for teaching reading to children at-risk of mreading failure. However, about one third of the children in the longer intervention and about three quarters in the shorter intervention did not respond and these children would appear to need more intensive or prolongcd help to improve reading skills.
Key words: Phonemic awareness. literacv teaching. at risk tor reading failure.
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